The wider culture in 2016 was beset with political shocks and celebrity death, something to which sport was sadly not immune.
Muhammad Ali and Johan Cruyff were among the great figures to pass on through the year, while societal turmoil took its toll elsewhere.
In Brazil, the promise of the previous decade had already been all but extinguished by the extraordinary Petrobras corruption scandal. Though it was not directly linked to that episode, Dilma Rousseff ’s impeachment in May meant that the country went into the Rio 2016 Olympics with the equally unpopular Michel Temer at the helm as interim president.
Amid a flurry of budget cuts, the result of national and local economic emergencies, the city scrapped and scraped its way through: logistical mishaps and the scandals of Patrick Hickey and Ryan Lochte were offset by an event marked by colour and character. But those Games have a troubled legacy.
In the Anglosphere, the electoral upsets of Brexit and the arrival of Donald Trump as US president created an air of surreality that has yet to dissipate. On the field, even more surprising things were happening. Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year drought to win their third World Series. Even more astonishingly, 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester City beat English soccer’s entrenched elite to the Premier League title.
“We promised, in our bid, lots of passion and transformation, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering now."
Leonardo Gryner, chief operating officer, Rio 2016 – Issue 89
- Gianni Infantino elected Fifa president as Blatter finally ousted
- Liberty Media agrees takeover of Formula One, ending the Bernie Ecclestone era
- Long-serving PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem steps down
- NHL owners approve Las Vegas expansion bid; NFL returns to Los Angeles