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Rio 2016: The long list of firsts and notables from the Olympics

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Our crack team of researchers NBC has put together an outstanding list of superlatives from this summer’s games in Rio.

Notable Olympic Firsts, Consecutives, Mosts in Rio

  • Fiji won their first-ever medal of any color when they won gold in men’s rugby sevens.
  • Jordan won their first-ever medal of any color when Ahmad Abughaush won gold in the men’s 68kg taekwondo.
  • Kosovo won its first-ever medal of any color when Majlinda Kelmendi won gold in the women’s 52kg judo.
  • Seven nations (including IOA) have won their first-ever gold medals, but had prior silver and/or bronze medals.
    • Bahrain: Ruth Jebet – athletics – women’s 3000m steeplechase
    • Cote d’Ivoire: Cheikh Sallah Cisse – taekwondo – men’s 80kg
    • Independent Olympic Athletes: Fehaid Al-Deehani* – shooting – men’s double trap
    • Puerto Rico: Monica Puig – tennis – women’s singles
    • Singapore: Joseph Schooling – swimming – men’s 100m butterfly
    • Tajikistan: Dilshod Nazarov – athletics – men’s hammer throw
    • Vietnam: Hoang Xuan Vinh – shooting – men’s 10m air pistol

*Al-Deehani is from Kuwait, whose NOC was banned by the International Olympic Committee, but whose athletes were allowed to compete as Independent Olympic Athletes. Kuwait has never earned a gold medal; Al-Deehani has its only two previous medals, both bronze.

  • Japanese wrestler Kaori Icho became the first woman to win individual gold medals in four straight Olympics.
  • First sailing medals for Croatia, including first gold (Tonci Stipanovic – silver, men’s laser was very first medal, followed by first gold medal in men’s 470, won by Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic)
  • First US gymnast – male or female – to earn four gold medals (Simone Biles)
  • First gymnastics medal for Swiss female gymnast (Giulia Steingruber – bronze, women’s vault)
  • First time — since first bringing gymnasts to the Olympic Games in 1984 — that Chinese gymnasts failed to earn an individual gymnastics medal (China did win bronze medals in both the men’s and women’s team events)
  • First time since 1972 that Romanian gymnasts failed to earn any medal
  • First gold medal on men’s rings apparatus for Greece won outside of Games held in Athens (Eleftherious Petrounias)
  • First individual gold medal for female Dutch gymnast (Sanne Wevers – gold, balance beam)
  • Most medals won by US women’s gymnastics team – 9 (4 golds, 4 silvers, 1 bronze)
  • First loss for Serena Williams/Venus Williams in Olympic Games women’s doubles (previously 15-0, 3 gold medals together)
  • First tennis player (male or female) to win 2 gold medals in singles (Andy Murray)
  • First medal – since 1920 — in sport of tennis for Japan (Kei Nishikori – bronze, men’s singles)
  • First medal for Japanese men in table tennis (bronze – men’s singles – Jun Mizutani)
  • China continued its winning streak in women’s singles table tennis, winning its 8th consecutive gold medal (table tennis was introduced to the Olympic sports program in 1988, and no other country besides China has captured gold in women’s singles)
  • China continued its winning streak in women’s team table tennis, winning its 3rd consecutive gold medal in the event (the team table tennis events were introduced to the Olympic sports program in 2008, replacing the men’s and women’s doubles events, and no other country besides China has captured gold in the women’s team event)
  • China also captured the last four women’s doubles events in table tennis (1992-2004) and thus holds a current streak of 7 consecutive gold medals in the non-singles women’s table tennis events
  • China, for the 3rd consecutive Olympic Games, captured gold in all 4 table tennis events (2008, 2012 and 2016)
  • China, for the first time, was shut out of the medals in the badminton women’s doubles event (the streak dated back to 1992, the first year the women’s doubles event was added to the Olympic sports program; China had won the gold medal in the previous five Olympic Games, dating back to 1996)
  • Goh Liu Ying becomes the first female Olympic badminton medalist from Malaysia, when Goh and her partner, Chan Peng Soon, captured the silver medal in the mixed doubles event
  • Indonesia wins its first gold medal in the badminton mixed doubles event
  • Denmark wins its first medal, a silver, in the badminton women’s doubles event, which is only the second ever medal (and first silver) won by a non-Asian country (Russia had captured the bronze medal in the women’s doubles event at the 2012 London Games)
  • First gold medal for Japanese women in badminton (gold – women’s doubles event)
  • First medal for Great Britain in badminton in an event other than mixed doubles (bronze – men’s doubles event) and only the second time a non-Asian country captured a men’s doubles medal (Denmark won silver in the men’s doubles event at the 2012 London Games)
  • Spain wins its first medal in badminton, a gold (Carolina Marin – gold, women’s singles), and in capturing the gold medal, Marin became the first non-Asian woman to win a badminton gold medal
  • Zhang Nan of China became the first man to win two badminton medals at a single Games, taking gold in the men’s doubles event with Fu Haifeng and bronze in the mixed doubles event with Zhao Yunlei (five different women previously had won two badminton medals at a single Games on six different occasions)
  • Germany won its first individual archery medal. Lisa Unruh took home the silver medal.
  • Gwen Jorgensen’s gold medal was the first Men’s or Women’s Triathlon gold medal for USA.
  • Usain Bolt (JAM) first sprinter to win gold medal for both the 100m and 200m events in three consecutive Olympics.
  • Bolt is the first runner to win three gold medals as an individual in a single event (all others in track and field with three or more consecutive individual gold medals in one event were either field or race walk).
  • Matej Toth won Slovakia’s first track and field medal with the gold in Men’s 50k Race Walk.
  • Ruth Beitia won Spain’s first medal in Men’s or Women’s High Jump with the gold in Women’s High Jump. This is also Spain’s first gold medal in Women’s Track and Field.
  • USA won its first gold medal in Women’s 400m hurdles: Dalilah Muhammad.
  • Jenn Simpson finished with the bronze medal, the first USA medal in Women’s 1500m.
  • Matt Centrowitz won USA’s first gold medal in Men’s 1500m since 1908 Olympics.
  • Pavlo Tymoshchenko won Ukraine’s first Men’s Modern Pentathlon medal (silver).
  • Mexico received its first overall Modern Pentathlon medal, a bronze in Men’s event for Ismael Hernandez Uscanga.
  • Chloe Esposito won the gold medal in Women’s Modern Pentathlon. It’s Australia’s first ever medal in Modern Pentathlon and an Olympic record score.
  • USA’s first gold medal in Women’s Shot Put: Michelle Carter.
  • USA swept all three medals in Women’s 100m medals. First time USA has swept any event in Women’s Track and Field.
  • Italy won its first medal in beach volleyball – men or women’s – when Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai captured silver.
  • US beach volleyball athlete Kerri Walsh Jennings lost her first Olympic match (26-1) when Walsh Jennings and April Ross lost to Brazil in the semi-finals.
  • The US women’s basketball team won its sixth consecutive gold medal.
  • Russia won its first gold medal in women’s handball.
  • France won its first medal of any color in women’s handball.
  • Spain won its first medal in women’s basketball.
  • Spain won its first weightlifting medal ever – men or women’s – when Lidia Valentin Perez took home bronze in the 75kg weight class.
  • Serbia won its first women’s Olympic volleyball medal when they took home silver after losing to China.
  • China’s women’s volleyball coach Lang Ping became the first woman to win gold as both a coach and a player.
  • Since losing the final in Athens on August 29, 2004, the Netherlands’ women’s hockey team had been undefeated in the Olympic Games until the team lost in the final against Great Britain on August 19, 2016.
  • Great Britain’s women’s hockey team won its first-ever gold medal.
  • Argentina’s men’s hockey team won its first medal in Olympic hockey history–gold.
  • The Belgian men’s hockey team won its first medal since the 1920 Antwerp Games when the team won bronze; this time the squad earned a silver medal.
  • Rio 2016 is the first time the United States’ women’s hockey team finished the Olympic tournament in the top half of the tournament contenders since Los Angeles 1984 when the team won bronze.
    • Los Angeles 1984: 3rd out of 6 competing teams
    • Atlanta 1996: 5th out of 8 competing teams
    • Beijing 2008: 8th out of 12 competing teams
    • London 2012: 12th out of 12 competing teams
    • Rio 2016: 5th out of 12 competing teams.
  • Rio 2016 is the seventh time that Nick Skelton has competed at an Olympic Games–and it is the first time that he won individual jumping gold. Skelton is also the oldest Rio 2016 champion.
  • Rio 2016 is the first time that France has won Team Jumping gold since Montreal 1976.
  • France won its first gold medal of the Rio 2016 Games on August 9th for Team Eventing.
  • Nicolas Astier secured France’s second medal in Individual Eventing since the event became open in 1964.
  • Germany’s Isabell Werth has won an Olympic medal on five different continents. She has won a medal in Asia (Beijing 208), North America (Atlanta 1996), Europe (Barcelona 1992 and Athens 2004), Australia (Sydney 2000) and now South America (Rio 2016).
    • She was the second person to accomplish this feat after Kim Rhode did the same in shooting just a few hours before.
  • Simone Manuel is the first African American female to receive an Olympic gold medal in a swimming event (Women’s 100m Freestyle).
  • Simone Manuel is the first American woman to win Olympic gold in the 100m Freestyle since 1984.
  • Joseph Schooling swam the 100m Butterfly and won Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal.
  • Kazakhstan won its first Olympic medal (gold!) in swimming in the men’s 200m Breaststroke.
  • First time a swimmer has won gold in the same individual event 16 years apart (Anthony Ervin 2000 & 2016 in the 50m FR).
  • First time that a swimmer has won the same individual Olympic event 4 times consecutively (Michael Phelps 200 IM).
  • Sprinter Kirani James won Grenada’s first medal of any color with a gold in London; he added the nation’s second medal with silver in Rio.
  •  Judoka Sergiu Toma’s bronze medal was the United Arab Emirates’ second medal of any color.
  • Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s silver medal was the first medal of any color for the Philippines since 1996.
  • Wrestler Artur Aleksanyan won Armenia’s second gold medal (the first was in 1996) and became the first Armenian with two career medals.
  • Fencer Ines Boubakri and wrestler Marwa Amri won Tunisia’s first medals in their respective sports. They were the first medals in those sports for any African country besides Egypt, and the first medals in those sports for any female African.
  • Egypt’s Hedaya Malak Wahba earned bronze, making her the first African female to win a taekwondo medal. The next day, Cote d’Ivoire’s Ruth Gbagbi became the second.
  • Cote d’Ivoire’s Cheikh Sallah Cisse became the first African to win a gold medal in taekwondo.
  • Cote d’Ivoire had just one medal in its history before Gbagbi and Cisse won medals in the same sport on the same night.
  • Taekwondo athlete Abdoulrazak Issoufou of Niger won his country’s first silver medal and second medal of any color, following a bronze in 1972.
  • Helen Maroulis became the first American woman to win a gold medal in wrestling. She beat Japan’s Saori Yoshida, who had won the previous 3 Olympics golds and 13 straight World Championshpis golds.
  • Patimat Abakarova’s bronze was Azerbaijan’s first taekwondo medal. Three days later, Radik Isaev earned their first gold in taekwondo.
  • Tunisia’s Oussama Oueslati bronze was its first medal in taekwondo.
  • Brazilian lightweight Robson Conceicao won his nation’s first boxing gold medal.
  • Light flyweight Yuberjen Martinez won Colombia’s first boxing silver medal.
  • Uzbekistan had earned one gold medal and zero silver medals in boxing before Rio. In Rio, five Uzbek boxers earned gold or silver.

Two Italian cities discuss possible Winter Olympic bid

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ROME (AP) — Milan and Turin are in discussions with the Italian Olympic Committee about a possible bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino sent a letter of interest to CONI on Sunday despite divisions in her own party, the populist 5-Star Movement, on a candidacy. Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala met with CONI president Giovanni Malago on Monday.

“I think Milan has everything required but we won’t do anything without a government and its approval,” Sala said Tuesday.

Italy awaits a new government in the next few weeks following a national election this month that yielded no clear majority.

CONI is still recovering from its dropped Rome bid for the 2024 Summer Games, which ended following staunch opposition from Mayor Virginia Raggi, who also represents the 5-Star Movement.

Among the cities which have shown preliminary interest for 2026: Calgary, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Sapporo, Japan.

Turin hosted the Winter Games in 2006. The 2026 host will be decided by the International Olympic Committee in Milan in September 2019.

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Nathan Chen no longer grasping for gold going into world champs

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Nathan Chen is arguably a bigger favorite at this week’s world championships than going into the Olympics, but Chen learned from his frightening PyeongChang experience not to think in those terms.

“I don’t want to dwell so much on medals like I did at the Games,” Chen said last week. “That was one of the biggest things that sort of screwed me up at the Olympics. … I was so hell-bent on that, on really the gold. It ended up just making me scared. It made me really nervous and didn’t give me the confidence I needed.”

Chen arrived in PyeongChang last month undefeated for the season. His first two skates in South Korea resulted in the two worst short program scores of his senior international career.

The 18-year-old nailed his last performance, a personal-best free skate as the first man to land five clean quadruple jumps at an Olympics. The highest program score in the field by nearly nine points. Chen moved from 17th place to fifth, confirming his place among the sport’s big-stage performers.

Then two of those icons — Olympic gold and bronze medalists Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez — withdrew from this week’s world championships in Milan.

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“Honestly, I was a little disappointed that Yuzu pulled [out of worlds],” Chen said (Hanyu cited a right ankle injury that kept him out of competition from November until the Olympics). “Obviously, he needs to get healthy. I don’t know what his future entails, but I wanted to have him there. It really ups the ante of the competition. Everyone definitely feels his presence and Javi’s presence.”

Chen spent the last week of the Olympics in Seoul with family members. He said he took maybe one day off from training after flying home to Southern California.

His coolest post-Olympic experience: attending NBA games, such as Cavaliers-Clippers with a backstage pass to watch players exit. And being shown on the jumbotron.

What Chen has not done in the last month is watch full video of his Olympic performances. Just jump compilations from his free skate. Nothing from either of the short programs.

“But I know exactly what it felt like,” he said. “I don’t really want to go back and review it since I know within myself what it felt like, but, again, if I find the need to some day go back and remember it, I think it’s a good resource.”

Chen is expected to challenge Japan’s Shoma Uno (Olympic silver medalist) and China’s Jin Boyang (2016 and 2017 World bronze medalist) for the world title.

Chen said last week that he plans two quads in his short program (Lutz and flip) and, depending on how the short goes, five in his free skate (six, which he attempted at the Olympics with one messy landing, “is pushing it a little bit.”).

Chen faces a decision after worlds. He applied to “six or seven” colleges — mostly California schools, but two on the East Coast — and, as of last week, had not heard back from any.

He plans to continue competing next season under Southern California-based coach Rafael Arutyunyan regardless of which school he chooses.

“Applications were mostly just for the purpose of trying to get into the colleges,” he said. “Once I hear back from them, I’ll figure out logistics and see how I’ll balance them both [school and skating].”

No American has won a world title since ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White in 2013, marking the nation’s longest drought in 42 years. Chen can end it. What an end it would be to his season as well.

“It would be incredible,” Chen said, “but I still have a lot of worlds ahead of me.”

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