Three hundred and eight Olympic gold medals were awarded in the recently completely 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games, with 46 (15 percent) of those golds going to the athletes from the U.S.
Several sources were quick to point out that the total U.S. haul was an Olympic record for an Olympics with “complete participation,” in reference to the 1980 and 1984 Games, which were boycotted by the U.S. one occasion and the U.S.S.R. on the other occasion.
Some gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics were un-awarded because of retesting of samples submitted at that time that were returned as positive for banned performance enhancing substances thanks to improved testing methodologies. In light of that, the total medal count from Rio should be awarded with an asterisk, defined as “to be determined at some future date.”
Seemingly forgotten on this go was that the Russian track and field team was absent from Rio, so “complete participation” seems something of a subjective term, possibly legitimate to use given than a Russian pole vaulter who had escaped the state-sponsored Russian doping scheme by virtue of going to college in the U.S. was jumping in Rio.
To their everlasting credit, the Brazilians pulled off a bang-up show despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth that was going on in the lead-up over all manner of perceived catastrophes, none of which came to fruition.
From one perspective, it would seem that the best way to pull off a perfect Summer Olympics would be not to ban the Russians, but to tell the swimmers to stay home. Even the newly reinstated rugby players were more decorous in terms of behavior.