2016 Rio Olympic Favorites Published on September 18, 2016 The 2016 Rio Olympics ended August 21st and left us needing more. Check out these North American favorites, some established names and some new. Simone Biles (USA) Simone walked away with four gold and one bronze, with a total of five medals, making quite a name for herself in Women’s Gymnastics. Her story is indeed an inspirational one. When her mother was no longer able to care for Simone and her siblings due to a drug addiction, Simone and her siblings were put into foster care until Simone was six years old. Simone’s maternal grandfather and his wife adopted Simone and her sister, while another member of the family adopted the two older Biles siblings. After Simone arrived home with a yearning to do gymnastics after a school trip to a gym, her parents enrolled her in a class and the rest is history. Andre De Grasse (Canada) Andre came by his running skill naturally. His mom was a runner in high school and passed both her skill and her Catholic faith onto her son. Andre started racing in high school after a friend asked Andre to come and support him in track. Tony Sharpe, 1984 Olympian, saw Andre and decided to train him. After Andre’s performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, some are wondering if he’ll fill the shoes of Usain Bolt when Bolt retires next year. Katie Ledecky (USA) Katie received her original gold at her debut at the 2012 London Olympics at only 15 years old. When she headed home from Rio four years later, she had earned the most medals of any female athlete for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Now, after the torch flame has been blown out and everyone has gone home, Katie is going to Stanford to embark on another chapter of her life. She is thinking about studying psychology or government but hasn’t made a decision yet, but definitely knows she hopes to be in Tokyo in four years. Penny Oleksiak (Canada) With her amazing show at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Penny returned home as Canada’s youngest Olympic champion. After seeing her in August, you’d never expect that Penny was actually rejected by numerous swim clubs when she was only nine because she was unable to swim the complete length of the pool. Coach Gary Nolden at the Toronto Olympian Swim Team saw something in her and wanted to take her in, thus starting her swimming career. Michael Phelps (USA) Michael took up swimming at the age of seven to give him an outlet and aided in managing his Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Like Katie, Michael made his Olympic debut at only 15 and was the youngest American swimmer picked for the Olympic Games in almost 70 years. With the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Michael has been chosen for five Summer Olympic Games, and has earned 28 total medals, making the 31 year old the most decorated Olympian ever. He announced that the 2016 Rio Olympics would be his final one, and we absolutely understand him wanting to enjoy time with his infant son, Boomer. Erica Wiebe (Canada) Despite winning a gold medal in women’s wresting at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Erica grew up hoping to become a soccer player. It wasn’t until high school that Erica came across a sign for Co-Ed Wresting practice that she considered another sport. And we are thrilled that she did. The Olympic champion not only does great on the mat, but also motivates and empowers children and women as an ambassador for Fast & Female, Right to Play, and KidSport Calgary.