From #PhelpsFace to #LochteGate
The 2016 Olympics in Rio have definitely been one for the books. From Simone Biles and the rest of the Final Five to Katie Ledecky’s domination in the pool, there have been tons of moments worth remembering.
However, it takes a very special moment and a very special person to be forever immortalized on the Internet in the form of a meme. So we’ve awarded the best memes from Rio their very own Olympic medal rankings, based on how much joy they gave the Internet. Here, the most meme-able moments of the Olympics.
Michael Phelps: #PhelpsFace
If there’s one meme that defined the competitive spirit of the Olympics Games, it would be Michael Phelps glowering in a corner. With headphones on and his hood covering him like some kind of dark Sith lord, he watched as his brash and braggy opponent, Chad le Clos, bounced around in front of him before they faced off in the pool. People thought Phelps’ intense glare embodied not only the need to win, but the feeling of pure frustration we all get when you just need to shut someone down. Phelps later said it was all intense concentration, not “a dirty look.”
Ranking: Gold. Phelps can add this honor to his rather sizable Olympic haul. Twenty-three gold medals and now the most meme-able moment of the Rio games? The guy’s already a legend.
Ryan Lochte: #LochteGate to #LochMess
At the beginning of the Olympics, Lochte’s time in Rio looked like it was going to be commemorated by his icy blue-platinum hairdo or his 12 medals—tied for second most in U.S. history. But now Lochte’s time in Rio will probably be most remembered for #LochteGate, a hashtag that emerged after Brazilian authorities said the swimmer “made up” a story about being robbed at gunpoint. The athlete has since apologized for not being “more careful and candid” in his accounting.
Ranking: Silver. Lochte’s persona only makes it easier to meme all of #LochMess.
Fu Yuanhui: Miss Congeniality
Yuanhui may not have quite the medal count that her opponents in the pool do, but she certainly seems like she’s having the most fun in Rio. Yuanhui first captured the attention (and the hearts) of Olympic viewers everywhere when they saw her adorable reaction to finding out that she had tied for the bronze medal in 100-meter backstroke. It went viral, and her joy-filled reaction wasn’t a fluke, however; it turns out Yuanhui is always amazingly emotive, providing some of the most joyous and uninhibited moments of the Games.
Ranking: Bronze. While Yuanhui’s ebullient expressions more than qualify her for a meme medal, her ability to keep it 100 when being interviewed clinched her spot in Olympic history. Yuanhui spoke frankly about being on her period during this Olympics in a post-relay interview, a small victory for women everywhere.
Shaunae Miller: The Track Star Turned Diving Star
Bahamian runner Shaunae Miller secured the gold in Rio when she dove across the finish line for the 400-meter, beating out reigning champ Allyson Felix. Even though the dive was legal, the controversial finish was perfect fodder for more Olympics drama. But the image of Miller diving for victory at any cost was priceless and prompted the Internet to immediately christen Miller the newest member of the Bahamas’ diving team.
Ranking: Gold. Miller’s dive prompted a major divide online. The image of Miller diving to beat Felix has the potential to be a sports meme for the ages.
Usain Bolt: On His Way to Steal Your Girl
The only thing more impressive than Usain Bolt’s superhuman speed is his complete confidence that he is the fastest man in the world. Case in point: when Bolt turned and smiled for photographers as he finished his race and his opponents struggled to catch up. A close second for our meme affection was Bolt’s adorable bromance moment with Andre De Grasse as they beamed at each other during the men’s 200-meter track semifinals.
Ranking: Gold. Give this man a gold for posing for a photo that was just begging for the perfect caption. Bolt is not only the fastest man in the world, but he knows a good photo op when he sees one — for instance, history being made.
Chad Le Clos: A Lesson in Why You Need to Stay in Your Lane
The well-documented rivalry between Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos peaked with a photo of the exact moment when you can see le Clos realize he’s losing the 200-meter butterfly race (he won gold during the 2012 London Olympics) to Phelps. Seeing le Clos looking sideways at Phelps mid-race should serve as a reminder to all of us to mind our own business.
Ranking: Silver. There’s nothing like some good ol’ fashioned rivalry to really amp up the hype around a race — between le Clos’ braggadocio and Phelps’ #PhelpsFace, the final race couldn’t have been anything but memorable.
Laurie Hernandez: The Wink That Rocked the World
At just 16, Laurie Hernandez is one of the youngest athletes to compete in Rio, but her unflappable confidence and vivacious attitude quickly established her as one of America’s brightest gymnastics stars. Hernandez’s sassy demeanor translated to her work on the floor, as demonstrated by the wink she gave to the judges before whispering to herself, “I got this.”
Ranking: Bronze. Hernandez’s wink won everyone over, firmly establishing her as American’s newest national treasure.
Aly Raisman’s Parents: Giving a New Meaning to Spectator Sport.
Has anxiety ever been more adorable to witness? We first discovered Aly Raisman’s squirmy parental units during London where they had no shame in having exactly zero chill while their gymnast daughter competed. Unsurprisingly, Rio proved to be just as nerve-wracking for the two. Despite the fact that their daughter was the captain of the U.S. Women’s gymnastics team and medaled multiple times during the Games, her parents never stopped being very visibly anxious for Raisman.
Ranking: Bronze. When it comes to being excellent spectators, the Raismans have basically made an Olympic sport out of watching their daughter.