The sporting spirit

With so much controversy surrounding the Rio Olympics, how do the athletes react?

Russia's Yulia Efimova leads the field in the women's 4x100-metre medley relay final during the swimming competitions in Rio de Janeiro. Rebecca Blackwell / AP Photo
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The Olympic Games are always filled with drama, emotion and, yes, controversy. This year has been no different. From the fragile state of Brazilian politics to questions of corruption and doping, the Rio Olympics have been chock-full of headlines. Looking beyond the controversy, however, it is important to focus on the athletes themselves and how they react to the spirit of the Games.

After New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino collided in the women’s 5,000 metre final, both runners gave up any chance of getting back into the race and helped each other. Meanwhile, American swimmer Lilly King openly taunted Russia’s Yulia Efimova over doping allegations.

These episodes highlight the tangible human aspect of this sporting competition. The incredible athletes that we watch are subject to the same emotions that we all endure. From the spirit of genuine camaraderie to the anger that cheating reveals, the story of these Games is ultimately one of the competitors and, by extension, us.