A look back at the unsung heroes of Rio 2016

This one’s for you, Irish rowers

During this year’s Olympic Games, we’ve heard the same names over and over again: Tom Daley. Katie Ledecky. Laura Trott. Michael Phelps.

But the Olympics is about so much more than celebrity status and standalone stars – which is why we want to give some recognition to the underappreciated heroes of the last two weeks.

This is for you, guys. You earnt it.

That lifeguard

Why is she there? What is she hoping to achieve? If someone really was drowning, would she even bother to intervene, or would she let the other seven superhumans in the pool do the lifesaving for her?

We don’t know. And by the look on her face, neither does she.

The Lithuanian backflip weightlifter

Imagine lifting a 392kg bar like it’s nothing, and still being SO PUMPED that you have to do an actual fucking backflip just to get rid of the excess energy.

Sure, he looks like one of the wildlings in Game of Thrones who eat human flesh, but there’s something endearing about Aurimas, with his cold, unforgiving eyes and arms that could tear you limb from limb.

The bloke who got sent home for partying


Everyone who raced against Michael Phelps

You must know, if you’re a competitor, an Olympic swimmer going up against Michael Phelps, you must know deep down you are never going to win. But this lot still gave it their all and put up with his smug deserved happiness. They’re the real winners.

If it’s any consolation we bet he’s a massive cunt in real life.

Butt and Fuchs

Linus Butt is a 29-year-old field hockey player from Germany. He studied medicine and won the European Championship with his team in 2007. Florian Fuchs is a 24-year-old field hockey player from Germany. In 2012 he was named the IHF young player of the year. They are both very accomplished athletes currently competing in the hockey finals in Rio.

And when they stand next to each other it looks like their name is Butt Fuchs looool.

Michael Conlan

Michael Conlan is an underdog, and everyone roots for underdogs. So when he complained about the Russians being “fucking cheats” rather than taking him as a poor sport, people got behind his amazing sweary rant. Michael Conlan does not give a fuck that he’s swearing on live TV. He came here to box, and although it looked to many like he outboxed Vladimir Nikitin, he was unanimously declared the loser.

Watching him talk about how his Olympic dream was shattered was a bit like watching the last moments of the first Rocky film, or Ned Stark being beheaded. Watching through your fingers, crying a bit, angry stuff that only made you root for Sylvester Stallone and the Starks and Michael Conlan all the more.

He just deserved it man.

Those Irish rowers

If there was an Olympic gold medal for just being really really fucking happy to be there and being excellent at rowing whilst also having the best craic imaginable, Gary and Paul O’Donovan would win it hands down.

Looking quite bemused by their silver medal in fucking rowing – literally, nobody rows in Ireland, but apparently we’re suddenly really proud and interesting in rowing – they open their interview by assuring everyone in thick Skibbereen accents that “the background behind us might look superimposed but it is very real”. I don’t know what I would say first to the media if I won a surprise Olympic silver medal, but I really hope it’s as good as “the background behind us might look superimposed but it is very real”.

Gary and Paul are heroes because, while they might be impressive athletes, they’re incredibly normal. They wish they were partying at home because they’ve been getting some great Snapchats from their friends in Ireland. They eat steak ravenously off camera. If you were on a night out in Rio’s Olympic village, you would want it to be with Gary and Paul O’Donovan from Skibbereen.

Martyn Rooney, who ran like a dick

Everyone loves the Olympics, but you have to admit that the most tedious part of it all is the level of righteous, stoic sportsmanship among the athletes who fucked it all up. The way they nod at the camera and congratulate whoever beat them and say they tried their best. Normal people get angry at themselves, and fucking up is more relatable than fucking up with a boring amount of grace.

That’s why Martyn Rooney is so great. He ran like a dick, he knows he ran like a dick, so he told BBC sport he ran like a dick. Usually when an Olympian fucks up the average person (suddenly an Olympic expert, slumped on the sofa licking Wotsit dust off their fingers) will shout at the TV and berate them for dismounting badly on their double handspring full turn out backflip. But you can’t berate Martyn Rooney, he owns it too succinctly.

He ran like a dick, and everyone liked him better for it.

Fu Yuanhui

Not many women have been brave enough to speak about periods. And those who have spoken out are usually shamed for doing so.

But when Fu Yuanhui openly talked about how she’d gotten her period before she competed – crucially, without blaming her poor peformance on that – she challenged the taboo on a global stage. Look, periods are nbd. Even Olympians have to deal with them. Why should discussion of the topic be considered anything but normal? Fu Yuanhui’s nonchalant, throwaway mention of them maybe have shocked us, but it also set the stage for us to chill the fuck out about talking about periods.

Hiroki Ogita’s dick

In the ultimate case of man’s best friend-turned-enemy, pole vaulter Hiroki Ogita was betrayed by his own private parts, striking the bar with his penis mid-jump and bringing the whole thing down.

Which means either Ogita is blessed with more than just world-class pole skills, or he needs to invest in a looser pair of shorts.

Simone Biles

Let’s be honest, she’s just a fucking hero.

Dan Goodfellow

It must be hard for Dan Goodfellow, Tom Daly’s synchronised diving partner – even his own mother got more media coverage than him. You may not have been on the front page of the Mail, Dan, but we appreciate you. We really do.

The guy from the crowd who did a dive as a prank


Usain Bolt

When you find being the fastest man in the world so easy that you literally pose for photos mid-run, you know you’re doing it right.

The three cyclists who Mark Cavendish wiped out

Yes, Mark Cavendish! Another silver medal for Team GB! That’s am — wait, you did what?

Jeffrey Julmis

There’s something of Jeffrey Julmis in all of our lives. We start out with the best of intentions, raising our hands to the sky and genuinely believing we can make something of ourselves. Then life puts a giant hurdle in our way, and we end up face-planting spectacularly for all the world to see.

Chin up, Jeffrey – at least you’re an internet celebrity now.

Aly Raisman’s parents

Admit it: if you were at the Olympics and your parents didn’t act like this, you’d be a little bit hurt.

These guys and their horribly broken limbs

We don’t know what these guys would find more disturbing: the high quality clips of their limbs snapping in horrifically graphic fashion, or the amount of times we’ve watched those clips on repeat, letting out a polite “oooooft” every time and then tagging yet another squeamish mate in the comments.

Elise Kellond-Knight

Friendship. A relationship of mutual affection between people; a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.

Sometimes being a friend means being a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes being a friend means giving advice they don’t even know they need.

And sometimes, just sometimes, being a friend means turning your BFF’s water bottle the right way up so they don’t make a giant dick out of themselves on live TV.

Mr English, from Ireland

Make your mind up mate.