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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.

Olympic super-G champion Anna Veith wins first World Cup race in two years

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VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) — Olympic champion Anna Veith won a World Cup super-G race on Sunday, more than two years after her last win.

The 28-year-old Austrian has been battling back from injury. She went to hospital in March to have the patellar tendon in her left knee surgically repaired. She had returned in December 2016, after more than one year out after heavily damaging her right knee in a training crash.

“It was a pretty emotional day for me. When I stopped in the finish I didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “It’s important for me to know I can do it in a race, trust myself. I didn’t race so much the last two years.”

She profited from an early bib number to clock 1 minute, 5.77 seconds on the Oreiller-Killy course.

It was her 15th World Cup win and first podium since third place in super-G at the Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo in January. Her previous win came in giant slalom at the French resort of Meribel in March 2015.

Victory came as a huge psychological relief to Veith who, before injury, was one of the world’s best. She won the overall World Cup title in 2014 and 2015 and also took silver in giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“After my surgery I knew that the most important thing was to be in good shape and get my strength back,” Veith said. “My injury was a very tough injury. All the girls know it’s pretty hard to get over it.”

Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein was second in 1:06.25 — her 35th World Cup podium — with Italian Sofia Goggia third in 1:06.28.

Full results

Remarkably, Weirather raced despite fearing she has broken her left hand.

“Yesterday, when i crashed I went with my hand in the snow and it hurt my hand and my shoulder,” she said. “I haven’t been to the doctor yet. I’m not sure what it is right now, but for sure not very good because it’s black and blue.”

She also knows a thing or two about courage.

“I could have just have thought “I can’t do it and given up” but I really wanted to do well today,” Weirather said. “In the warmup it hurt really badly. I thought that with the adrenalin I’d forget about it.”

One race is enough, though, and she won’t be taking part in Tuesday’s giant slalom in nearby Courchevel.

“I can’t, because I can’t hold my pole and I have to get an X-ray on my hand,” she said. “I’m not sure if it’s broken or not.”

Goggia, second in Saturday’s super-G behind Lindsey Vonn, has 15 World Cup podiums.

But only two wins.

Goggia knows what she must do to improve her conversion rate.

“Do most of the turning in the correct way. Sometimes I make mistakes in my performance,” she said. “I have to put that off and just ski right and I think it will come.”

Vonn pulled out of Sunday’s race because of soreness in her knee. Having done the morning’s inspection, the 33-year-old American decided against racing as a precautionary measure. The four-time World Cup winner is flying home.

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Lindsey Vonn pulls out of World Cup super-G race because of sore knee

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VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) — Lindsey Vonn pulled out of a World Cup super-G race on Sunday because of a sore knee.

The 33-year-old American did not say which knee hurts, but has injured both before.

She took part in Sunday’s early-morning inspection at the French Alpine resort, but then decided against racing as a precautionary measure and flew home.

Vonn secured her first win of the season and record-extending 78th in Saturday’s super-G on the same Oreiller-Killy course.

“Knee is a bit sore from yesterday so to be on the safe side I’m going to give my body some rest,” Vonn tweeted. “My focus is on the Olympics so no need to risk anything now.”

Vonn did not say when she plans to return. There are only slalom and giant slalom races to follow — not her specialty — until the next speed events in January. They begin with a downhill and super-G at the Austrian resort of Bad Kleinkirchheim from Jan. 13-14.

Last weekend, Vonn jarred her back in another super-G race at St. Moritz in Switzerland.

Her mind is fully on the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea from Feb. 9-25. She won gold in downhill and bronze in super-G at the 2010 Games.

Vonn has battled with injury during her illustrious career.

She sustained a hairline fracture to her left knee in a super-G race in February 2016.

At the 2013 world championships, Vonn crashed in the super-G and tore ligaments in her right knee. She was unable to defend her Olympic title at the 2014 Games.

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