Brazil Blog: Tchau from Rio de Janeiro!
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It has been a memorable fortnight here in Rio de Janeiro during these Olympic Games, but it is time to say tchau!

It has been a memorable fortnight here in Rio, but it is time to say goodbye! Eleven of the days I attended the gymnastics events. From the first day of podium training to the last day of event finals, we had the privilege of witnessing some outstanding gymnastics, and as usual the best was saved for the last.

For me there were a few really special highlights during the last three days of competitions. First, Max Whitlock winning two individual gold medals in this day and age of men's gymnastics is an absolutely incredible feat. Simone Biles earned two more golds in finals to put herself in the record books, and her fellow Team USA athletes picked her to carry the U.S. flag at the Closing Ceremonies! Well deserved.

Hats off to Kenzo Shirai for being the first gymnast to successfully compete a Yurchenko 3 1/2. Of course the same goes for Hong Un Jong throwing a Yurchenko triple twist. The judges didn't agree she completed her twists all the way around, but most gymnastics fans will remember her as the first woman with the guts to try that vault. Ukrainian Igor Radivilov really pushed the limits with his triple front attempt, and he did not receive a zero for it, something most, including myself anticipated should he decide to attempt it in the final. He actually did it better than we had seen before but, but still, it was quite scary. The word is that the officials will take a hard look at this vault, and could possibly ban it from the Code due to its extreme danger factor.

We can't forget the sweet victories for Oleg Vernyayev and Fabian Hambüchen, so much joy and satisfaction for them. Eleftherios Petrounias and Ri Se Gwang were on a league of their own. And lastly Sanne Wevers' beam routine for the win. I have no words to describe it, but that was a magical moment for our sport! Congratulations to all medalists!

At last I had a chance to spend some time at Copacabana, one of the best beaches in the world, and certainly the top attraction here in Rio. The weather was as perfect as it gets, and the place was packed with activities. In addition to the Olympic tourists many locals are also at the beach just enjoying themselves. The Rio natives are very active engaging in surfing, soccer, volleyball or simply jogging and swimming... the atmosphere resembles much of Santa Monica and Venice Beach! The beach volleyball venue is set right on the beach of Copacabana and another Megastore is located not far from it. I was there during the day, but I heard that this place is alive and roaring all the way until the early hours of the morning.

On Thursday, I swung by the Rio Olympic Arena for one last time to catch the action from the gymnastics Gala. I was there for the second performance of the day, which was at 3 p.m. The morning one was at 11 a.m., but unfortunately both of them weren't attended very well. Despite the poor crowd there was some good entertainment. Two-time silver medalist here Danell Leyva pulled off an entertaining p-bar set mixing up salsa dance moves and gymnastics skills, and even taking his jersey down to sell the act.

The current world champs in sports acro men's four from China did two amazing routines, one balancing and the second acro where the top guy was tossed for two full-twisting triple backs, insane. Petrounias got some assistance from Arthur Zanetti to get on the rings, but once up there he didn't disappoint, and Diego Hypolito tumbled through a quite difficult floor routine, but didn't have to worry about overtime! Several groups of rhythmic gymnasts wowed the crowd with beautiful and creative choreography, while "Prince Oleg" performed twice. Home crowd fav Flavia Saraiva was elegant on the floor tossing a double pike and double tuck. Biles performed in the first gala, but unfortunately Kohei Uchimura was not in attendance; however, he certainly left a strong mark in Olympic gymnastics history here in Rio!

Tchau from Rio! Obrigado, Brazil! Pretty soon we will be saying konichiwa, Tokyo!

Christian Ivanov represented Bulgaria at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

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