- FULL RECAP: Greece's Athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games -
The greatest sporting event comes to an end-The Summer Olympic Games hosted in Brazil was a success and AGONAsport.com brings you a full recap of what Greece's athletes did in Rio.
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro concluded Sunday with the closing ceremonies. Greece was represented by 93 athletes that competed in 73 events from 15 different sports. Greece had less than 100 athletes for the first time since 1996 but it didn’t stop great results from the Greeks after a very successful Olympic Games.
The Greek team returns home with 6 medals, 3 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze, finishing 26th (out of 207 nations) in the overall medal ranking. Eleftherios Petrounias (Gymnastics-Men's Rings), Katerina Stefanidis (Track & Field-Women's Pole Vault), and Anna Korakaki (Shooting-25m Pistol) earned the gold medal in their respective events. Spyros Gianniotis (Swimming-10km Marathon) was only fingertips away from a gold medal but left Rio with the silver medal. The two Greek bronze medals went to the the Greek duo of Pavlos Kagialis/Panagiotis Mantis in the Men’s Sailing 470 event and Anna Korakaki in the Women’s Shooting 10m pistol. In addition to the six medals, all the Greek athletes gave it their all with many of them competing in the Final round of their events and coming close to a place on the podium.
This is Greece’s 5th most successful Olympics behind Athens 1896, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, and Athens 2004. Greece earned the same amount of medals this summer as they did in the last two Olympics combined when they won 2 silver and 2 bronze in Beijing 2008 and 2 bronze in London. Additionally, Greece celebrated their first gold medal since the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
It was the last Olympic Games for a few notable Greek athletes including: Evangelia Psarras (Archery), Spyros Gianniotis (Open Water Swimming), Vlasis Maras (Horizontal bar), Sofia Bekatorou (mixed-Nacra 17), Ilias Iliadis (90 kg Judo), Angeliki Skarlatou (RS:X), and water polo legend Christos Afroudakis.
Considering the current situation in Greece and Greek sports, one could argue that this is Greece's most successful Olympics. The athletes had minimal, if any, financial help from the government or Greek Olympic Federation, leaving the athletes to find support from sponsors or turning to personal funds. Despite this setback, our athletes were worthy competitors in Rio against the best athletes in the world. The ultimate satisfaction and honor was representing their nation while competing in the Olympics, winning a medal, hearing the Greek National anthem on 3 occasions, and making Greeks around the world proud.
For this we thank all of our athletes for representing Greeks everywhere at the greatest sporting event in the world, the Olympic Games. We wish them the best in their upcoming competitions and AGONAsport.com will continue to support and follow these athletes throughout the year.
Below is a full recap of Greece's athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
ELEFTHERIOS PETROUNIAS (MEN'S RINGS, GOLD)
Eleftherios Petrounias showed his dominance in the Men’s Rings event once again, this time at the Olympic Games. After winning practically every competition over the last 2-years, Petrounias was awarded the GOLD medal in Rio with a near perfect routine, which scored 16.000. No athlete came close to Petrounias’ score with the “hometown hero” and defending Olympic Champion Arthur Zanetti finishing in second with a score of 15.766.
KATERINA STEFANIDIS (WOMEN'S POLE VAULT, GOLD)
Katerina Stefanidis became the first Greek athlete to win a GOLD medal in Track & Field since the 2004 Games in Athens. After winning the European Championships, Stefanidis showed her good form in qualifying which continued onto the final round of the competition. In a thrilling battle at 4.90 meters, she prevailed over the American Sandy Morris to win the gold medal.
ANNA KORAKAKI (10M PISTOL, BRONZE; 25M PISTOL, GOLD)
Anna Korakaki won Greece’s first medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with her BRONZE medal in the Women’s 10 meter Pistol Shooting event. Two days later, she wrote history in the 25m pistol event, winning the GOLD medal. She defeated Monika Karsch from Germany in the final round, hitting the target on her final shot for the win. The 20-year old athlete became the first Greek female to win TWO medals at a single Olympic Games and the first Greek athlete since 1912 to do so (Kostas Tsiklitiras).
SPYROS GIANNIOTIS (MEN'S 10KM SWIMMING, SILVER)
One of the greatest athletes in Greek sports, and without a doubt the best Greek swimmer ever, Spyros Gianniotis’ dreams came true in Rio. After a heart-breaking end in London 2012 where he finished only 5 seconds behind a bronze medal (in 4th place), Gianniotis had only one goal in Rio, an Olympic medal. Although the 36-year old and 5-time Olympian did not have “age” on his side, he had the passion and determination for an Olympic medal. In arguably one of the best races in Olympics history, a fingertip finish separated Gianniotis from the gold medal. Gianniotis and Ferry Weertman finished with the same time, but the photo-finish confirmed a silver medal for Gianniotis. The Greek federation appealed the decision (requested both athletes win gold), however Gianniotis refused the appeal, saying he was rightfully beat, showing his truly amazing sportsmanship. In the final race of his career, Gianniotis’ dream of an Olympic medal came true, capping of an incredible career for the Greek swimmer.
P. KAGIALIS & P. MANTIS (MEN'S 470 SAILING, BRONZE)
Pavlos Kagialis & Panagiotis Mantis earned Greece’s first medal in sailing since the 2008 Olympic games. The Greek duo had secured at minimum a bronze medal going into the medal race. In a tight battle with the Australians during the final race, a small slip-up at the end gave the Aussies the silver medal and the Greeks the bronze. Kagialis & Mantis were close to giving up the sport 4 years ago, but decided to stick with it and their hard work payed off in Rio.
Men’s Water Polo: After finishing in the top 4 at every major competition in the last 2 years, the Greek National Water Polo Team had high hopes for their first Olympic medal. Greece finished 2nd in Group A, but fell to Italy in the quarter-finals. In the 5th-8th place matches, they defeated Spain (Group B winners), but claimed 6th place after their loss to Hungary.
Track & Field: Nikol Kyriakopoulou was unlucky not to compete with Katerina Stefanidis in the Women’s Pole Vault event. Despite an injury, Kyriakopoulou traveled to Rio with hopes of competing but in the end was unable to do so. Kyriakopoulou had the capabilities of joining Stefanidis on the podium after her high placement at the World & European Championships. In the Men’s Pole Vault, Greece had a strong showing with Kostas Filippidis finishing in 7th place. Voula Papachristou went into the Final round of the Women's Triple Jump ranked 2nd, but lacked the big jump in the final round to finish in 8th. Kostas Douvalidis made it the semi-finals of the Men's 110m hurdles (finished 13th) along with Lykourgos Tsakonas in the Men’s 200m dash (finished in 23rd). Antigoni Drisbioti recorded a great time in the Women’s 20km walk finishing in 15th place while Alexi Papamichail finished in 20th in the Men’s 20km walk and 28th in the Men’s 50km walk. Additionally, Alexi Pappas was 17th in the Women’s 10,000m race.
Gymnastics: One of the greatest gymnasts in Greece, Vlasis Maras, continue his “curse” at the Olympic Games. In the qualifying round of the horizontal bar, he made costly mistakes which prevented his place in the final round of the competition.The 2-time World Champion and 5-time European Champion finished in 38th. In rhythmic gymnastics, the Greek team finished 15th as Vasiliki Flouri finished in 13th in the individual competition.
Rowing: Asoumanaki & Nikolaidou came very close to a medal, finishing 4th in the Women’s Double Sculls event. The big surprise in the Men’s Lightweight Four event was the Greek team, who made it to the final race (finished 6th), despite forming their team only weeks before the Olympics.
Sailing: In addition to the success of Kagialis & Mantis, Byron Kokkalanis made it to the medal race in the Men’s RS:X event, claiming 5th place overall. Mitakis barely missed out on the medal race and finished 11th overall. Sofia Bekatorou, Greece’s flag bearer at the opening ceremonies, ended her Olympic career in 18th place in the Mixed Narca-17 event with Michalis Petaniotis. Bekatorou has won many honors in her career including a gold medal in Athens 2004 and a bronze medal in Beijing.
Swimming: In the Women’s 10km marathon, Kelli Araouzou finished in 11th place after a great race. In the pool, only two Greek swimmers qualified for the semi-finals of their respective events, Andreas Vazaios in the 200m medley and Kristian Gkolomeev in the Men’s 50m freestyle. Unfortunately, both athletes did not progress to the final round with Vazaios finishing in 11th and Gkolomeev 13th overall. In the Women’s Duet of Synchronized Swimming, Papazoglou & Platanioti qualified for the final round and finished in 10th place.
Other Sports: One of the greatest Judo athletes ever, Ilias Iliadis, made a surprise early exit in Rio. Forty-five seconds into his match he was defeated by Ippon, ending a fantastic career in the Olympic Games. Iliadis was a gold medalist in Athens 2004 and a bronze medalist in London 2012. Vasiliki Vougioukas was unfortunate in her second battle in the Women’s Sabre Fencing event and was eliminated in the Round of 16.
AGONAsport.com followed Greece's athletes throughout the Rio 2016 Games. For a full list of our athletes' final rankings click here. A huge congratulations to all the Greek athletes for a job well done!