Every four years the planet’s biggest multi-sport event comes around to thrill the masses.
The 2016 Olympic Games took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
But just like previous editions the build-up to the Games was thick with controversy.
In times of economic hardship in the region the Games’ multibillion-dollar price tag raised concerns and tempers amongst locals.
And the threat of a mosquito-borne virus, high levels of pollution and crime rate and the usual delays in infrastructure and construction of venues also dominated the pre-Olympic headlines.
Another major topic to cast a dark cloud over the build-up to the Games was the Russian doping affair.
A few weeks before the start of the Games, the International Association of Athletics Federations barred Russia’s track and field team from competing.
The decision stemmed from a World Anti Doping Agency-commissioned report that revealed state-sponsored doping in the country.
It has since turned into one of the biggest doping scandals in the history of sport.
But these issues temporarily and thankfully fell into the background as the Games finally took centre stage.
The greatest Olympian of all time?
Michael Phelps made one of the biggest splashes in Brazil whilst taking his legendary status to a whole new level.
After coming out of retirement especially for the event he went on to dominate the pool.
The American flag bearer was in a league of his own and the 31-year old left Rio with five gold medals which took his record breaking career tally to a whopping 28 medals – 23 of which gold.
It also earned him the tag of arguably the greatest Olympian of all time.
It was the perfect way to end his career (although stay tuned for a potential surprise at 2020 Tokyo).
USA Swimming (@USASwimming) December 12, 2016
Usain Bolt was another of the main draws in Rio.
The Jamaican sprint king bid farewell to the Olympic Games in perfect fashion by securing a triple triple – or treble treble.
However you say it the fact remains Bolt proved once again he is fastest man on the planet.
For the third successive Games he won the 100, 200 and 4×100 metres gold.
That took his tally of the shiniest of Olympic medals to nine.
He became the first man ever to win the Olympic triple triple.
Bolt will compete for the last time in the World Athletics Championships in London next August but it’s safe to say he cemented his legacy in Rio.
#Sports photo of the year ?
usainbolt</a> at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rio2016?src=hash">#Rio2016</a> <a href="https://t.co/82cKHzBXQ2">pic.twitter.com/82cKHzBXQ2</a></p>— George Bakhos (GeorgeBakhos) December 14, 2016
From the sprint king to the sprint queen.
Allyson Felix also enjoyed an historic Olympic Games in Brazil.
The 31-year old helped her team win the 100 and 400 metre relay title which took her career Olympic haul to nine medals – six golds and three silvers.
With this haul she became the most decorated American track and field athlete of all time.
Her total also ties the record for most Olympic track medals for a female with Merlene Ottey, although the Jamaican sprinter never won gold.
What's new! Rio Olympics 2016, Track and Field results: Allyson Felix wins 6th gold medal with 4×400 relay win. pic.twitter.com/0NWcrnyqSj— Leam Navales (@imcalledleam) August 21, 2016
American Simone Biles returned home from Rio with a lot more extra weight in her luggage.
The 19-year old gymnast thrilled enthusiasts of the sport around the world and all who had the chance to see her at the Rio Olympic Arena when she amassed no less than five medals – four of which were gold.
Her gold-medal-winning individual all-around performance has been considered by many as the greatest of all time.
It was a Games to remember for Great Britain, whose competitive action ended with record-breaking results.
With 67 medals including 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze, GB finished second in the medals table behind the US.
It was the nation’s biggest ever medals haul on foreign soil and best finish since topping the list at the 1908 Games in London.
Two of GB’s gold medals came from Mo Farah, who earned sporting immortality in Rio by completing the long distance double-double.
He became just the second man after FInland’s Lasse Viren to win both the 5 000 and 10 000 metres titles at two separate Games.
Delighted to win the— Team GB (@TeamGB) December 7, 2016
PrideofSport</a> Elite Team of the Year award alongside <a href="https://twitter.com/ParalympicsGB">ParalympicsGB!
It's been quite the year 🇬🇧🇧🇷🏅👏🎉#PrideofSport pic.twitter.com/j39HkODrIO
What a summer has been #Rio2016
Olympics</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/Paralympics">Paralympics
Mo_Farah</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/kad_c">kad_c nominated for
BBCSPOTY</a> 1 week 2 go🏃💪😅🏆 <a href="https://t.co/caIu0u3g4V">pic.twitter.com/caIu0u3g4V</a></p>— Athletics Fun UK (AthleticsFun) December 11, 2016
Revenge is golden sweet
After their 7-1 semi-final humiliation by Germany in the 2014 World Cup on home soil, the pressure on Brazil’s national football team to provide the goods at their own Olympics was massive.
As fate would have it, they reached the final only to meet the Germans once again.
After regulation ended 1-1 Brazil exacted sweet revenge by winning the ensuing penalty shootout and claiming the only gold medal that really mattered to the football-crazy host nation.
Historic gold for Kosovo
Another standout moment at the Games saw 25-year-old Majlinda Kelmendi become the first athlete from Kosovo to win an Olympic medal, and that was gold.
In the first Olympics at which athletes could compete under the Kosovo flag since gaining independence from Serbia in 2008, Kelmendi won the final of the women’s 52 kg judo category.
Already the golden girl of the sport, she could now add Olympic gold to her two world titles and three European crowns.
While Olympic success is often judged the color of the medal, the Rio Games dished up another type of success.
For the very first time at an Olympics, a team of refugees had a chance to shine on the biggest of sporting stages.
Ten athletes from four countries competed together as the Refugee Olympic Team.
Although the two swimmers, two judokas, the marathoner and five middle-distance runners failed to win a medal they did capture the hearts and minds of sports fans and highlight the true spirit of the Games.