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Brooks: Ranking the early winners so far at the Rio Olympics

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Now that the pomp and circumstance known as the Opening Ceremony has ended and we’ve gotten a weekend’s worth of Olympic competition, it’s time to start handing out some awards and making silly observations. Keep in mind that all of this is coming from the brain of a man who watched handball for ten minutes … and kind of got into it.

Bronze: Rio De Janeiro

While the jury is still out on whether these Games will go off without a hitch (bet on that happening, by the way; disaster is often predicted yet never materializes during the Olympics) and there are obvious social and economic problems in Brazil’s second largest city, you can’t deny that Rio looks great on TV. The money shots of the beaches right up against the mountains look spectacular. Not to mention the fact that everyone, from tourist to locals, seem as if they’re having a good time. A friend of mine who is a firefighter in The City is in Rio for the Games with his family (wife, two kids under 12) and his only issue is with the lack of provided shade. However, he does not plan on getting in any water that is not chlorinated.

Silver: Katie Ledecky, United States Swimmer

I’m more of a pool lounger than swimmer, but you don’t have to be Aquaman to know when someone is ruling the pool with an iron fist. The Stanford swimmer dusted her competition in the 400 freestyle last night (the second place swimmer finished FIVE SECONDS behind Ledecky; the gap between second and third was only seven-tenths  of a second) and broke her own world record by two seconds. In this day and age, a healthy dose of skepticism is unfortunately necessary when you’re watching global sports, but until proven otherwise, Ladecky gets not only the benefit of the doubt from me but my full attention for the rest of the Games. Five second gap between first and second place … wow!

Gold: Tongan Flag Bearer Pita Nikolas Taufatofua

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Now THIS is how you make an entrance! Only one question: did he self oil up or did someone volunteer to give my man that nice sheen he sported for the world? Either way, nice job, bro. Now I know what my Halloween costume is this year.

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