The United States saved some of their best for last to continue their reign atop men’s basketball with a third straight Olympic gold in the final event of the Games.
In a rematch of a slim three-point win over Serbia in the group stages, the Americans were relentless in the final at Barra Carioca Arena to end their Rio campaign on the ultimate high on Sunday with a 96- 66 victory.
The result marked the 15th gold for USA and stretched their overall win streak to 25 contests.
Kevin Durant led the way with a blistering performance which saw him net 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting – 18 points in the second quarter – including five 3-pointers and multiple thunderous dunks.
The 27-year-old showed why he was considered the top player on USA’s roster as he seized the responsibility he inherited when NBA superstars LeBron James and Stephen Curry chose to pass on Rio.
Kevin Durant has topped the 150-pt mark at the Olympics for the 2nd time. No other U.S. men's player has scored 150 pts at a single Olympics— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 21, 2016
Two other Americans scored in double figures with DeMarcus Cousins notching 13 points and 15 rebounds, and Klay Thompson adding 12 of his own. Carmelo Anthony contributed seven points and became the first player in history to earn three Olympic gold medals in basketball.
Mike Krzyzewski, meanwhile, became the first coach to win three gold medals in his final game on the bench with the national team.
Serbia appeared as if they would once again push the Americans when they led 14-11 with 3:14 remaining in the first quarter, but from there on USA took control to open up a comfortable lead.
The 66 points by Serbia were the second-fewest surrendered by the US in the entire tournament.
Earlier, Spain defeated Australia 89-88 in the bronze medal game behind Pau Gasol’s 31 points and 11 rebounds to earn a third consecutive top-three finish at the Olympics.
Facebook Live didn’t exist during the London 2012 Olympics but it has been centre stage at Rio 2016 as athletes, broadcasters and publishers utilised the tool to better reach sports fans around the globe.
Here are 10 of the best Facebook Live videos of Rio 2016.
1) PHELPS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Michael Phelps revealed to fans that his final race at Rio 2016 would be the final race of his career.
2) PUERTO RICO LIVIN LA VIDA LOCA
Ricky Martin celebrated Monica Puig‘s historic win and the first gold medal for Puerto Rico.
3) BRAZILIAN HYPS DON’T LIE
Brazilian gymnast Daniele Hypolito interviews brother Diego after his silver in the floor competition.
4) BENDING THE EARS OF GYMNASTS
People Magazine talked with the Final Five from the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team.
5) A TASTE OF JAMAICA
CNN International went to the Jamaica House in Rio while Usain Bolt was competing in the men’s 100m final.
6) COLOMBIA’S OSCAR NIGHT
The Colombian Olympic Committee broadcast a live interview with their gold medal-winning weightlifter, Oscar Figueroa, from Casa Colombia.
7) TEENAGE KICKS
Coca-Cola sat down with teen influencers for its #ThatsGold campaign.
8) PAINT THE TOWN RED
Team Refugees showed the unveiling of a mural of the team painted in Rio.
9) ONE GIANT LEAP FOR TEAM USA
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin cheered on Team USA in the gymnastics.
10) SIT ON THE FENCE
Visa USA had fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad and sprinter English Gardner compete in some fun games.
RIO DE JANEIRO — On Sunday the Olympic flame will once again be extinguished, the flag handed over to Tokyo and most people in the world will forget about sports like weightlifting and synchronised swimming for another four years.
Yes, we’ve finally reached the end of the 2016 Games and while the closing ceremony is usually a bittersweet moment, I suspect here in Rio it will be greeted with a massive sigh of relief.
Those who predicted the worst were proved wrong and despite some serious challenges, the Olympics have gone off largely without any major incidents.
While Brazil have not performed quite as well as a host nation usually does, their pride is very much intact having secured both the men’s football and beach volleyball titles, along with golds in judo, pole vault, sailing and boxing.
The football gold was by far the most celebrated – with parties erupting across the city on Saturday night after they defeated Germany 5-4 on penalties. Even though it was their under-23 team, it was some consolation for their 7-1 semi-final humiliation at their home World Cup at the hands of the Germans two years ago.
So, having picked my favourite moments at the halfway mark, it’s time to reflect on the games as a whole. Here are my picks…
SUPERSTAR OF THE GAMES – Usain Bolt (Jamaica)
There was American swimmer Michael Phelps in the first week and gymnast Simone Biles with her four golds and a bronze but there has only been one man who had his name chanted by every nationality in the crowd, every time he stepped out to compete in Rio – Usain Bolt.
The Jamaican sensation successfully achieved his historic triple treble (winning three gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at three consecutive Olympics) but more than that – he once again charmed the sporting world.
It’s impossible not to like the phenomenal Jamaican when he’s showing off his dance moves, interrupting a TV interview to congratulate another athlete or waving a Brazilian flag alongside his own. A true superstar.
BEST POST-EVENT INTERVIEW – Paul & Gary O’Donovan (Ireland)
It’s tricky to top this one from Ireland’s silver medallists in the lightweight men’s double sculls. Brothers Paul and Gary O’Donovan took the internet by storm. Still searching for those podium pants…
SCARIEST MOMENT – Locked up
Working late one night up in the press tribune at the athletics, I managed to lose track of time and got myself locked inside the Olympic Stadium!
Every exit I found had an armed soldier telling me I couldn’t go out that way and the doors of the venue media centre were all locked. Thankfully, I tracked down a colleague on the phone who contacted a volunteer to come and rescue me. Not fun. Close second would be any trip in a Rio bus after 2am. There isn’t an Ayrton Senna Avenue here for nothing.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT – Ilia Zakharov (Russia)
He was the defending champion in the 3m springboard diving. After winning gold, Ilia Zakharov was named the 2012 Male Diver of the Year by the International Swimming Federation and he holds the title of Honoured Master of Sport in the Russian Federation. Then this happened…
Needless to say there was no gold for him in Rio this time around!
BEST DIVE – Shaunae Miller (Bahamas)
Ironically the best dive of the Olympics didn’t come from the diving competition and not even the football. That honour goes to women’s 400m winner Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas whose desperate dive across the finish line secured her the gold ahead of American Allyson Felix.
MOST EMOTIONAL GOLD – (Argentina)
It was a tear-jerker of note when Argentina’s Santiago Lange and partner Cecilia Carranza Saroli claimed gold in the mixed Nacra 17 class in the sailing. At 54, Lange was the oldest sailor in the competition but what made the victory all the more remarkable was that he was diagnosed with cancer just last year and had a lung removed.
Lange powered on though to take the gold – after which his two sons (who had been competing for Argentina in the 49er class) jumped into the water to embrace their victorious dad. Amazing scenes!
BEST VENUE – Fort Copacabana
Rio has so many picturesque spots to choose from but my choice for this one goes to Fort Copacabana, the venue for the open water swimming and the triathlon. Pristine 4km stretch of beach, surrounded by mountains, great crowds – just stunning.
PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – Van Niekerk’s record-breaking gold
I’m going to be patriotic with this one and go with South African Wayde van Niekerk’s incredible world record-breaking run for gold in the 400m. He did it from lane eight, where he couldn’t see any of the athletes around him and simply blew the opposition away – shattering the great Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record on his way to a 43.03-second victory. Brilliant.