The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero draw to a close with tonight's closing ceremonies. Over 11,000 athletes competed in over 300 events in the last couple weeks, including two of Chelsea's own: Mikel John Obi for Nigeria in men's football and Hedvig Lindahl for Sweden in women's football. Both of them ended up collecting medals.
Goalkeeper Lindahl, who was the hero for Sweden in shootout wins over USA in the quarterfinals and Brazil in the semifinals, was unable to make it three in a row as the German machine rolled their way to a 2-1 win in Friday's final. The scoreline wasn't quite reflective of the quality chances squandered by the Swedes (especially in the second half), nor of the lucky second German goal that started life as an attempted clearance by one of the Swedish defenders. But there was no denying the quality of the finish for Germany's first goal, as Hungary-born Dzsenifer Marozsán curled one past the helpless Lindahl.
Despite the disappointment of losing the final, it was a great tournament for Sweden, who exceeded all expectations.
On the men's side, Mikel John Obi and Nigeria also did well for themselves, finishing third with a 3-2 win over Honduras in the bronze medal match. After a rough start to their journey, Nigeria impressed with wins over Japan and Sweden in the group stages before dispatching Denmark in the quarterfinals (with Mikel scoring!). They could not get past a strong German side in the semifinals (who ended up losing to Brazil in the gold medal match).
On Saturday, Mikel laid on a hat-trick of assists as Nigeria stormed out to a 3-0 lead. Honduras made it close in the final five minutes, but Nigeria hung on for their third Olympic medal in men's football in the last 20 years.
As one of the two overage players allowed in each U23 squad, Mikel was relied on to provide leadership both on and off the pitch. His dream may have been to win gold, but bronze will prove a good memory as well no doubt.
On a final Olympics-related note, former Chelsea trainee Adam Gemili, who was with the Blues from age 8-15 before deciding to focus on athletics, almost won his first Olympic medal, missing out on third spot in the 200m sprint by three thousandths of a second. A heartbreaking margin, especially when you consider that some sports, like swimming, only measure down to the hundredths. In any case, Gemili, just 22, has vowed to one-up his performance four years from now.
Just wanna say thank you for the support, it's been crazy. I gave it my all and hope I made everyone proud pic.twitter.com/qAyqIZIp8t— Adam Gemili (@Adam_Gemili) August 19, 2016