A Japanese plastic surgeon gave Nigeria’s Olympics soccer team $390,000 for coming third
After defeating Honduras in the third place match at the Olympics soccer event on Saturday (Aug. 20), Nigeria’s players ended up with bronze medals on their necks and thousands of dollars in their pockets—thanks to Katsuya Takasu, a Japanese plastic surgeon.
The grinning Takasu flew into Rio to rewarded the team with $390,000 for their bronze medal win at the Rio Games after being impressed by the team’s resilience despite the haphazard planning and poor conditions before and during the Games.
After the Nigerian team was left stranded in Atlanta, USA, ahead of the Games because their flights had not been paid for, their plight made headlines. Eventually, the team landed in Rio just seven hours ahead of their first game, against Japan. But despite the less than ideal circumstances, the team served up an impressive performance to beat the Japan and eventually finished top of their group. But the money troubles didn’t end there. Hours before the quarterfinal match against Denmark, Nigeria’s players threatened to boycott the game in protest over unpaid allowances. After reading the team’s financial struggles, Takasu said he “felt the need to make a big contribution.”
Takasu donated $200,000 to the team to “cover bonuses and allowances” and also donated $10,000 to all members of the 18-man team as well as the team manager for winning bronze. Takasu flew to Rio to personally deliver cheques to the team.
“I had traveled from Tokyo prepared to reward them anyway, and to watch them win the bronze inside the stadium was very fulfilling,” he told BBC.
“This team showed resilience and fought the hardest to achieve success despite all their problems. Some people would have given up but they didn’t,” Takasu is reported to have said.
Takasu’s donation was briefly the subject of corruption allegations as officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) were forced to deny reports that they planned to make Takasu give the money to the federation rather than to the players. “To say NFF has ‘hijacked’ the money is outright mischief,” Amaju Pinnick, NFF president, said. “Nigeria is a sovereign nation and such a donation must go through a process. If we get a go-ahead, it will go directly to the team.” Reports had suggested the NFF planned to use the donation to offset salaries of members of the coaching staff who have not been paid for the last five months.
Takasu’s gesture was a positive turn in an otherwise poor Olympics outing for Nigeria. Despite lofty targets set by the country’s sports minister, the bronze medal won by the soccer team was the only medal recorded by the entire Olympics contingent.
Rio: Laurie Hernandez Ironed Simone Biles’s Clothes Before the Closing Ceremony
Real friends … iron your clothes?
As the official flag bearer for Team U.S.A. in the Closing Ceremony in Rio, 19-year-old Simone Biles needs to look sharp. And with some help from fellow Final Five teammate Laurie Hernandez, the five-time Olympic medalist showed off her freshly ironed Ralph Lauren uniform for the ceremony. “Thanks roomie … closing ceremony outfit @ sam mikulak HA,” Biles wrote, calling out men’s Olympic gymnast Sam Mikulak in a Snapchat post showing Hernandez ironing her white “U.S.A.” shirt. Soon after, Biles posted a mirror selfie of the two gymnasts in their outfits. “Closing ceremonies ready,” Biles wrote on the photo posted to her Snapchat account.
U.S. ends Olympics on top of medal table
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — The U.S. Olympic team made itself right at home in Rio.
The British, they had a Games to savor as well.
The host Brazilians got the soccer gold they had craved, the Russians struggled on the heels of the exposure of a state-sponsored doping program, and the Chinese finished well below expectations.
So went the medal race at the Olympics, where the Americans — with women leading the way — dominated the gold and overall totals. With five medal wins on Sunday’s final day of the Games — gold from the men’s basketball team, boxer Claressa Shields and freestyle wrestler Kyle Snyder, and bronze from marathoner Galen Rupp and the men’s volleyball team — the United States finished with 46 gold medals and 121 medals overall. Its margin of 51 total medals over second-place China is the largest in a nonboycotted Olympics in nearly a century.
“This experience has been the dream of a lifetime for me,” said gymnast and closing ceremony flag bearer Simone Biles, who won five medals, four of them gold, in her first Olympics.
For the fourth consecutive Games, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps left with more medals than anyone else. He won six in Rio, five of them gold to increase his Olympic-record gold total to 23 and his overall total to 28. Biles and U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky each won five — all gold for Ledecky — to lead to lead a big haul from American women.
U.S. women left Rio with 27 golds, by far the most among any team of female Olympians at the Games, and 61 medals total. U.S. track star Allyson Felix won two relay golds to bring her career total to six, a track record for women, and Shields, a middleweight, became the first American, man or woman, with two boxing golds.
“I wanted it to be known that I’m not just a great female boxer. I’m one of the greatest boxers to ever live,” Shields, 21, said.
The previous record for U.S. medals at a fully attended Olympics was 110, set at Beijing eight years ago. And the margin between first and second in the overall medals race tops all others — the boycotted Games of 1980 and 1984 excluded — since the Americans won 67 more medals than Italy did at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.
“We weren’t sure we were going to have that kind of success coming in,” said U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, noting the track and swimming teams had plenty of first-time Olympians.
Even with far fewer athletes competing in Rio than it had in London four years ago — and no homefield advantage this time — Britain got more medals than ever in the modern Games. It won 67 medals, 27 of them gold.
China won 26 golds, just over half as many as it won in 2008. Russia — with its track team told to stay home because of the doping investigation and a cloud hovering over its athletes who were in Rio, some of whom were publicly called out by competitors — finished with 19 golds and 56 medals overall, both well below its normal showings.
There were plenty of positives for others, however.
Usain Bolt finished off his triple-triple — three Olympics, three golds in each in the 100 meters, 200 and 400 relay — for Jamaica, in what he has said was his last Games. Neymar’s winning penalty kick decided a shootout and clinched the men’s soccer gold medal for Brazil, a host that wasn’t a factor in the medal standings but got the gold that it probably wanted most.
“We went through difficult moments in the beginning of the competition,” Neymar said. “We were criticized. And we answered on the field, with soccer.”
Rio Dances: Closing Ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics was Spectacular
Rio 2016 organizers are dropping the curtain on the Summer Games, Sunday after hosting the world’s elite athletes who’ve competed for 306 medals over the past 19 days here in Rio de Janeiro.
The closing ceremony starts at 8 p.m. local time, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Time. Because of NBC’s time delay, it’s airing at 8 p.m. ET and progressively later across the U.S.
We’re updating this post with scenes from the event, so please refresh to see what’s happening in Rio. We got a late start due to technical issues, so we’re filling in some blanks from the official guide to the ceremony.
The opening ceremony began with a countdown, similar to the one we saw in the opening ceremony. After that, performers evoked the colors we’ve seen all during these games — inflections on Brazil’s blue, green, and yellow flag — to form a welcoming array of Rio landmarks.
Later in the show, a segment evoked the expanse of time that the opening show also got at, with cave-paintings displayed on Maracana Stadium’s floor in a a meditation on archeology.
The effect was very pretty — but the crowd loved what came in the show’s second half. One segment, cartoon characters such as Mario ran around — and then, inexplicably and yet wondrously, shot a drill bit through the Earth and out the other side. They created a tunnel that links Tokyo (hosts of the 2020 Games) and Rio, with a green pipe-like entrance protruding from Rio.
And here in Rio, the tunnel’s green entrance the magically appeared on the floor of Maracana — and out popped Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Or at least that’s what we’re told. It’s one of those “Wait, what… I love it!” moments that Olympic ceremonies pull off at their best.
Another winning segment came earlier, when Grupo Corpo, a contemporary dance troupe from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, put on part of “Parabelo,” one of its shows, at the ceremony. But then the dancers gave way to “clay people,” and the performance drew roars of approval as the crowd bopped along to Luiz Gonzaga’s forró song “Asa Branca.”
The closing ceremonies must always include speeches, and that happened often tonight. There were also national anthems — of Brazil, of Greece, of Japan, and of Kenya (during a medal ceremony for marathon).
At the end of the show came a tribute to a personal favorite of ours: the genius landscape designer and artist Roberto Burle Marx, famous for his organic, wavy shapes (he created Copacabana’s iconic sidewalk tile pattern). Trained in Europe, Marx was a champion of Brazil’s native plants and its rainforests. In this segment, the music is “Chovendo na Roseira,” in a version by Tom Jobim.
The flame was then extinguished, in a graceful official end to these games.
And then, after a thoughtful pause — and because Rio knows how to party — the drums kicked in, and six six samba singers belted out “Cidade Maravilhosa” (Marvelous City) — a Carnival march that is Rio’s anthem. In the stadium, row upon row of people stood and danced, singing along.
Was it then over? Not yet: A sound truck appeared, along with 12 carnival queens, and athletes who competed in these games poured out of
While these games have been criticized for not having full seats, Maracana was packed last night with people who watched Brazil’s men’s soccer team win gold. And tonight, it’s full of people who came out to enjoy the unique spectacle the Olympics brings.
Music — seen by many as the backbone of Brazil’s culture — is woven throughout this ceremony, from old classics and traditional music to new pop sounds from around the country. The audience clearly agrees with the choices the show’s music programmers have made. Brazilian music has many anthems, standards that everyone can sing, and tonight we’re hearing strains of familiar music reworked in new ways.
At the start of the show, a choir of 27 children entered, looking like little twinkling stars. With singers representing Brazil’s 26 states (and the Federal District), they performed Brazil’s national anthem.
We’ll note that after a travel delay, we arrived at Maracana Stadium later than we wanted — it’s a rainy, dreary evening in Rio. But the show must go on — even in an open-air stadium. Tonight, Maracana’s halls are darkened to highlight the light show and the Olympic flame.
At the end of an Olympics, talk always turns to their legacy – and instead of one, these games could be said to have many: First and foremost, there’s the drama, grace, and excellence displayed by more than 11,000 athletes.
Then there are the games’ effects on Rio – its people, its infrastructure, and it standing. What will become of the buildings erected to host this global event? And will the Paralympic Games, which have faced huge budget problems here in Rio, go smoothly?
The impact of the Olympics on the city’s future is tied to its impact on Brazil – whose economy was bustling when Rio won the right to host these games eight years ago but which was continually forced to rebalance its budget for the Olympics and Paralympics, making cuts that sometimes gave a ramshackle air to the proceedings.
And then, we come to the members of the U.S. swim team who failed to distinguish themselves repeatedly in an episode that eventually led U.S. Olympic Committee President Scott Blackmun to apologize “to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal.”
How much money Olympians make for each gold medal
As the Olympics wrap up in Rio, many athletes will be returning home with shiny new medals. Depending on the country, some will also be compensated with monetary bonuses for their wins.
Joseph Schooling of Singapore will receive an estimated US$753,000 for his gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly. Not a bad chunk of change before taxes.
Not all athletes will go home with such handsome amounts, though. Olympians from Sweden and Norway will get no bonuses. Check out how other countries fare:
American women who made history at the Rio Olympics – remarkable photos
Team USA has much to be proud of at the Olympics, but the woman power has been in full force. Stamping their names in the record books and Olympic history, these women have crushed it.
Olympics spirit – American runner waited at the finish line to congratulate an opponent who finished in last place
American Ajee’ Wilson advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 800 meters on Tuesday in Rio with a second-place finish. Immediately after the race, instead of thinking about her recovery or the next race, she took a moment to congratulate an opponent who finished in last place.
Wilson finished just behind the favorite, Caster Semenya of South Africa, picking up one of the two coveted automatic-qualifier spots in just under two minutes. However, this is the Olympics, and not every athlete is there to compete for medals. Some are just there to compete.
More than a half-lap behind the leaders, Houleye Ba of Mauritania still had a long ways to go.
Nearly 20 seconds after the leaders finished the 2-lap race, Ba was just coming into view and was still nearly 200 meters from the finish line.
Ba eventually reached the finish line more than 43 seconds after the leaders, a huge amount of time in the 800. But while most of the other runners had already started to walk off the track, Wilson walked back to the finish line to embrace Ba and congratulate her.
Wilson will now move on to the semifinals of the 800 and Ba will go home. But she leaves knowing she did something few people ever experience: she competed in the Olympics against the best in the world.
Nene leads Brazil past Nigeria 86-69 in Olympic basketball
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Nene scored 19 points, Marcelinho Huertas had 11 assists and Brazil kept its chances of advancing to the men’s basketball quarterfinals alive with a 86-69 win over Nigeria on Monday.
A loss would have eliminated the Brazilians. They’re still not guaranteed a spot in the round of eight as Group B, which includes Argentina, Spain and Lithuania, still needs to be sorted out.
Nene, who signed as an NBA free agent this summer with the Houston Rockets, and Huertas of the Los Angeles Lakers scored six points apiece in a 14-2 run in the fourth to help Brazil (2-3) pull away.
Nigeria (1-4), which stunned Croatia in its previous game, was aiming to become the first African nation to make the quarterfinals. Nigeria showed improvement from the team beaten by the U.S. 156-73 in London, the most lopsided loss in Olympic history.
Usain Bolt became the first person to win three straight Olympic 100-meter titles, blowing down the straightaway in 9.81 seconds for his seventh overall Olympic gold.
American Justin Gatlin, Bolt’s closest pursuer over the past four years, finished second, .08 seconds behind. Andre de Grasse of Canada won the bronze. Bolt came into the Olympics not having run a 100 since June 30, when he pulled out of Jamaican national championships with a bad left hamstring.
The rehab began immediately, and on a muggy Sunday night in Rio, the shining star of track and field showed no signs of distress. After a typically clunky burst out of the starting block, he started pulling away from Gatlin with about 30 meters left. He’s not done. Qualifying for the men’s 200, his favorite race, starts Tuesday, with the relay on Friday.
Wayde van Niekerk wins South Africa’s first gold – shatters world record
South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk won South Africa’s first gold medal at the Rio Olympics with a time of 43.03 in the 400m men’s final on Sunday night. Right from the start of the heats, it was clear that this was going to be one of the races of Olympics.
Van Niekerk had looked steady in his heats and never really looked like he even got out of first gear. On Sunday in the final, he came to the party.
It featured three of the world’s greatest 400m runners and it delivered. The talented 25-year old first came to prominence in 2011, winning the 200m title with a personal best of 20.57 seconds at the South African Athletics Championships. But the best was still to come. In 2014, he won silver at the Commonwealth Games. A year later, he became the first athlete ever to run 100 metres in under 10 seconds, 200 metres in under 20 seconds, and 400 metres in under 44 seconds.