If you are like many Americans, you have been glued to the TV for the past 17 days keeping up with the fascinating Rio Olympics. NBC provided 6,755 hours of coverage, something for everyone. But here are five poignant moments you might have missed:
1. Kiribati weightlifter David Katoatua did not win a medal. He finished sixth in the 105kg B Final. Nevertheless, he won the hearts of fans the world over with his entertaining dances after each lift. Turns out, he wasn’t just boogieing because he was happy. He dances to raise awareness to climate change and how extreme coastal erosion has hurt his Pacific island nation.
“Most people don’t know where Kiribati is,” Katoatau told Reuters. “I want people to know more about us so I use weightlifting, and my dancing, to show the world.”
Desperate to save his home, Katoatau sought to turn the spotlight on Kiribati and the effects of climate change by capturing a bit of the limelight with his dance moves. “I don’t know how many years it will be before it sinks. We don’t have the resources to save ourselves.”
Never miss a local story.
2. The expressions on Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui’s face when she finds out she finished third, not fourth, in the 100-meter backstroke semifinal, meaning she earned a spot in the final.
3. Two other Chinese athletes also offered a heartwarming moment. Diver Qing Ka proposed to fellow diver He Zi on the medal platform. She said, “Yes.”
4. Sometimes, you train your entire life for an Olympic moment, and then your shoe falls off. That’s what happened to Ethiopia’s Etenesh Diro, but she finished the 3,000-meter steeplechase anyway.
5. One of the most emotional moments of these Olympics finished far from the finish line. It is a moment that embodies the true Olympic spirit. During a heat of the women’s 5,000-meter race, a collision caused American Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin to tumble to the track. D’Agostino put her hand on Hamblin’s shoulder, urged her to finish the race, and then helped her get up.
D’Agostino’s knee then buckled, and she fell down. Hambling helped her opponent up, and they finished the race together.
Hamblin said it was a moment she would never forget.
“I’ve never met this girl before and isn’t that just so amazing, such an amazing woman,” Hamblin said. “Regardless of the race and the result on the board, that’s a moment that you’re never ever going to forget for the rest of your life, that girl shaking my shoulder, like ‘Come on, get up.’ ”
She later added: “You can make friends in the moments that really should break your heart.”