Despite gloom-and-doom reports leading up to South America's first-ever Olympics, events have gone on, medals have been awarded, and the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics is now one for the history books. And there was a lot to celebrate. Here are some of the best moments during these 16 days in Brazil.
AFP/Getty ImagesTOSHIFUMI KITAMURA
The 19-year-old had quite the coming-out party. After winning the 800m free at the 2012 London Games, Ledecky set to dominate the pool in Rio -- and she did, decimating her competition (and her own world records) to the tune of four gold medals and a silver.
Not only did Phelps add five more golds and a silver to his already-record haul, one got the sense that the 31-year-old, who now has a young son and a fiancee to go home to, has ended his storied Olympic career on a high note.
Maya DiRado, Simone Manuel, Anthony Ervin, Ryan Murphy and the rest of the U.S. swim team
DiRado's surprise upset, Manuel's historic finish, Ervin's 50-meter freestyle win 16 years after his first gold medal in the same event, Ryan Murphy's three-gold medal Games. The American swim contingent accounted for 33 of the United States' overall medal total in Rio — 16 of them gold.
Tonga's flag bearer
A topless, slicked-up Pita Taufatofua made quite the entrance as the Polynesia island nation's flag bearer during the Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations. Hello, Tonga. We see you.
Getty ImagesPaul Gilham
U.S. women's basketball
Yes, the men's team also got it done. But the U.S. women (including Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner) were outright dominant, beating their competitors by an average of 40-some-odd points and cruising to a sixth straight gold medal at the Olympics. Can you say dynasty?
Even in a packed U.S. women's gymnastics team Simone Biles stood out. The 19-year-old powerhouse tumbled, vaulted and stuck the landing to four gold medals and one bronze at the Rio Games, cementing her legacy as one of (if not the) greatest gymnast of all time. And she did it with a winning grin.
Getty ImagesLars Baron
The Final Five
Not only did the collective superpowers of Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian, Lauren Hernandez, Simone Biles and Gabrielle Douglas combine to win team America its second consecutive gold in the women's team event, but an American medaled in every individual apparatus as well -- including the all-around competition. Marta Karolyi ended her tenure as U.S. team coordinator in Rio on a high note. The American women have never been stronger in this field.
AFP/Getty ImagesEMMANUEL DUNAND
Medals are great and all, but it's displays of true sportsmanship — like when USA's Abbey D'Agostino (right) helped New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin up after they fell during a 5000-meter qualifying heat, and then Hamblin cheered the injured D'Agostino on to the finish line — is what true Olympic spirit is all about.
Getty ImagesPatrick Smith
With his back-to-back-to-back victories in the 100, the 200 and the 4x100m relay, Bolt has sealed his place in Olympic history. His lightning speed is only matched by his electric personality. No one can catch this guy.
Getty ImagesCameron Spencer
Arguably Team USA and the Olympics' biggest fan. The "Saturday Night Live" and "Ghostbusters" star let her patriotic colors show in a big way on her social media accounts and drummed up so much support for the sports that NBC flew her to Rio, where she slayed all day (here she is with gymnasts Aly Raisman and Simone Biles after their all-around wins).
Romance was in the air in Rio, as there were no less than four proposals documented at this year's Games. And some lucky athletes got rings with their medals. Here, Chinese diver Qin Kai got on one knee in front of He Zi after Zi won silver in the 3-meter springboard final. And triple-jumper Will Claye popped the question to hurdler Queen Harrison after he earned silver. Olympics may come and go, but love always wins.
AFP/Getty ImagesCHRISTOPHE SIMON
The 19-year-old West Virginia Mountaineer was a surprise winner in the women's 10m air rifle, and had the distinction of earning the first gold medal at the Rio Games.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsGeoff Burke
Not only did Maroulis upset Saori Yoshida of Japan's bid at a fourth straight Olympic freestyle title to become the first American woman to win wrestling gold, the 21-year-old was nonchalant when her historic feat was overshadowed by the Ryan Lochte shenanigans: "If they covered Ryan Lochte over my match, well, I think that’s a poor decision on their part." Like a boss.
AFP/Getty ImagesJACK GUEZ
After a well-placed dive set Felix's fourth Olympics off on an inauspicious start, 4x100 and 4x400m relay wins gave the 30-year-old Felix (who was hampered by injuries this year) her fifth and sixth Olympic gold medals ... the most of any woman in track and field history.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
With her cycling time trial victory in Rio, Armstrong joined speed skater Bonnie Blair as the only American woman to win three gold medals in the same event. And she did it just shy of her 43rd birthday. "People have asked me over and over why am I back," Armstrong said after the race. "It's because I can."
AFP/Getty ImagesERIC FEFERBERG
USA men's basketball
Yes, they were maddening with their indifferent play at times, but this newly fashioned U.S. team, led by Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, played up to potential to beat Serbia and remain undefeated to win the nation’s third straight gold medal — and a fitting send-off for coach Mike Krzyzewski.
RVR Photos-USA TODAY SportsBob Rosato
The 34th-ranked Puig defied the odds to beat Angelique Kerber and win Puerto Rico their first Olympic gold medal.
AFP/Getty ImagesMARTIN BERNETTI
One of the best storylines to emerge from the Rio track: The bromance between Jamaica's Usain Bolt (right) and competitor/compadre Andre De Grasse of Canada. The 21-year-old De Grasse, who finished third in the 100 and second to Bolt in the 200-meter, clearly looks up to the world's fastest man. And Bolt definitely had De Grasse in his rearview. Just check out these looks: Fast friends forever.
Brazil wins first men's soccer gold
The host country may not have had the best medal showing at the Rio Games, but Neymar ensured Brazil struck gold in the sport that counts.