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rio-closing-ceremony-olympics-handover-yuriko-koike_3770057The Rio Olympics ended with a beautiful and spectacular closing ceremony on Sunday night. It ended officially with the handing over of control for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Spectators, athletes and officials had to brave strong wind and rain to attend the carnival-inspired ceremony.

The ceremony featured parades, dances, and performances by Samba legend Martinho da Vila, electronic music artist Kygo and singer Julia Michales.

“These were a marvellous Olympics, in a marvellous city,” International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach reportedly said. “Over the last 16 days a united Brazil inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy for life.”

Rio’s mayor Eduardo Paes returned the Olympic flag to Bach, who then handed it over to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike which officially signaled the transition to the 2020 Olympics. Tokyo then stole the show with their own impressive showcase. Popular fictional characters including Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Pac-man and Mario from Nintendo’s famous Mario game franchise all made an appearance.

It was a spectacular show from Rio, whose country was clouded in controversy in the Games. Problems surrounding economic mishaps, security concerns, the Zika virus and stunted preparation added issues to the games.

Rio 2016 organizing committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman said: “The Games in Rio is a great challenge, but a challenge with success. I am proud of my country, my city and my people. Rio has delivered history.”

Gold medalist Simone Biles carried the U.S. flag during the ‘Heroes of the Games’ segment at the closing ceremony. The ceremony ended with a confetti and fireworks show.

The last few days of the competition continued to be action-packed, and led to a great finale of the games.

Usain Bolt did it again, making him nine for nine. In his final Olympic event, the sprinting icon surged away and sealed the 4×100-meter relay for Jamaica. This was his third gold medal for the third time – a perfect record.

The U.S. men were disqualified in the 4×100 -meter relay, however the American women went on to dominate. The U.S. won their sixth consecutive gold medal in the 4×400 relay beating out Jamacia and Great Britain.

Brazil beat Germany in a penalty shoot-out to end their long wait for an Olympic Games football gold medal. After a 1-1 draw in normal time, and no goals in the extra 30 minutes, Brazil’s Neymar stepped up to score the winning spot-kick and seal a 5-4 shoot-out win after goalkeeper Weverton had saved Germany’s fifth penalty.

The United States women’s water polo team became the first group to win consecutive Olympic gold medals, defeating Italy 12-5 in the final. While the U.S. women’s basketball team claimed its sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal on Saturday.

U.S. topped the final medal table winning 121 medals in total: 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze medals.

Olympic-gold-1024x576Thursday the Americans gained another seven total medals, including five golds and four medals on the track. The great day for the U.S. started in the morning when Kerron Clement took the men’s 400 hurdles. It continued into the evening with wins by Ryan Crouser (men’s shot put), Ashton Eaton (men’s decathlon) and Dalilah Muhammad (women’s 400 hurdles).

The final gold medal for the American’s was in women’s wrestling. Helen Maroulis came through qualifications and won five matches to get the 53kg freestyle gold. It is the first women’s wrestling gold medal in the country’s history.

The U.S. women’s basketball team also advanced to the gold medal game, beating out France in the semifinals. The women’s volleyball team wasn’t as lucky. They suffered a defeat in their semifinals against Serbia. They will now play for the bronze.

Usain Bolt again stole the show on the track. The Jamaican sprinter cruised to an easy win in the 200 meters to win his eighth career gold medal and unprecedented third in the race.

The U.S. now has 100 medals which is 42 more than the second place China. Of those 100 medals, 25 of them are gold. China has 58 total medals, Great Britain with 56, Russia with 44 and in fifth place is Japan, with 35.

Drama is surrounding the Olympics with swimmer Ryan Lochte. Brazilian police say that Lochte and three U.S. teammates were not robbed after a night of partying, as the swimmer alleged. Instead, the intoxicated athletes vandalized a gas station bathroom and were questioned by armed guards before they paid for the damage and left.

Earlier Thursday, a Brazilian police official told The Associated Press that two of the swimmers said Lochte had made the story up and that the gas station manager actually demanded money from them to pay for the door. The swimmers handed over money and left.

More details surrounding the swimmer’s claims will come out over the next few days.

usain_bolt-1250x750Runner Usain Bolt has found a new rival after Justin Gatlin surprisingly failed to advance past the men’s 200-meter semifinals. In Bolt’s semifinal-run, he was challenged by 21-year-old Canadian Andre De Grasse. Bolt, a Jamaican sprinting legend, smiled and pushed forward to beat out De Grasse.

De Grasse stated it was all a part of the plan. “I wanted to make (Bolt) use as much energy as possible because I think I am going to do a better job of recovering than he is,” he said. “I am younger, so we will see what happens.”

Things have been going amazingly for the U.S. women’s track and field team. First, Tianna Bartoletta leaped 7.17 meters to win the women’s long jump, bumping fellow American and reigning champ Brittney Reese to silver. Next, breakout star Tori Bowie took bronze in the 200 meters to become the first American runner with two medals in Rio.

Lastly, an unprecedented show of dominance in the 100 hurdles by Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin left the United States sweeping the podium. They finished first, second and third.

USA Basketball continues to win despite a bumpy ride at the beginning. They rose to the occasion in elimination play to clobber Argentina 105-78 in the quarterfinals. Kevin Durant led the Americans with 27 points. Coming up next is the 2008 and 2012 silver medalists Spain, who just dominated France.

Be sure to catch the latest Olympic competitions this week. Women’s semifinals in basketball, men’s track and field decathlon, and women’s volleyball are all happening today and are sure to leave you glued to the TV.

Paramount Pictures is excited to finally release the first trailer for their upcoming drama Same Kind of Different as Me.

Same Kind of Different as Me is the story of an international art dealer Ron Hall (Greg Kinnear) who must befriend a dangerous homeless man (Djimon Hounsou) in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife (Renée Zellweger), a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the most remarkable journey of their lives. Jon Voight plays Hall’s father, with whom he reconciles thanks to the revelations of his new life.

The movie is based on a memoir by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent. The film is directed by Michael Carney from a screenplay by Carney & Alexander Foard and Ron Hall.

Same Kind of Different as Me will be released in theaters on Febraury 3rd, 2017.

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