There was a lot of buzz before the Rio Olympics about Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Usain Bolt. But during the Games other world-class athletes – perhaps unknown to the casual sports fan before Aug. 5 – grabbed headlines and medals of their own. Here is a look at some of the breakout stars of Rio.
Swimmer Maya Dirado won four medals two gold, one silver, and one bronze. Her signature moment came in the 200-meter backstroke, when she out-touched Hungarian standout Katinka Hosszú to win gold.
Monica Puig, who arrived in Rio as the 34th ranked tennis player in the world, was the surprise gold medal winner. She became Puerto Rico’s first-ever gold medalist.
Simone Manuel returns from Rio with two gold and two silver medals — her win in the 100-meter freestyle, though, was the first individual gold by an African-American swimmer. She added another by anchoring the 4x100 medley relay.
Shakur Stevenson, 19, proved himself to be one of top talents in the boxing tournament, taking silver in the bantamweight class.
Sportsfile via Getty Images
Matthew Centrowitz Jr., whose father also was an Olympian, won the 1,500m run, becoming the first American to win that event since 1908.
Daryl Homer became the first American to win a medal in the men's individual sabre since Peter Westbrook took bronze in 1984.
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Simone Biles had the highest expectations of any first-time Olympian at these Games and delivered — she won gold medals in the team and individual all-arounds, on vault and floor exercise, to go along with a bronze on the beam.
Gwen Jorgensen won America’s first Olympic triathlon gold medal. To win gold, Jorgensen ran 6.2 miles, swam a mile in the ocean and cycled 24 miles in 1 hour, 56 minutes, 16 seconds.
Ginny Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Rio Games in the women’s 10m air rifle.
Dalilah Muhammah won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles, running a time of 53.13 seconds and claiming the first ever gold in the event for the United States.
Swimmer Joseph Schooling won gold in the 100m butterfly. Schooling earned his country, Singapore, its first gold medal in the Olympics.
Tori Bowie, who missed the 2012 Olympic trials after breaking her jaw in a freak accident, leaves Rio with a medal of each color. She won gold in the 4x100m relay, silver in the 100m dash and bronze in the 200m.
USA's Lilly King wrapped in her national flag poses with her gold medal on the podium after she won the Women's 100m Breaststroke Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 8, 2016. / AFP / Odd Andersen (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)