These photos show the joy and pain of the Olympics in Rio - but it's definitely all worth it


The official Olympic Games creed enshrines what we're always told about sport: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part".

It's a laudable statement, and there's been plenty of amazing moments in Rio that have shown the best of the Olympic spirit.

But even the purest followers of those words will admit this: winning sure feels a lot better than losing. Here's a round-up of some of those moments of ecstasy and agony at Rio 2016.

Cyclist Elia Viviani was on a high after taking gold in the men's omnium...

Elia Viviani of Italy celebrates after winning gold in the men's omnium cycling at Rio 2016 Olympics

...but Serena Williams couldn't hide her disappointment at sliding to a third round tennis singles defeat.

Serena Williams exhales during her loss to Elina Svitolina at the Rio 2016 Olympics tennis (Charles Krupa/AP)

Australia's women's rugby sevens team showed the pure joy of success as they claimed gold...

Australia's players celebrate after winning the women's rugby sevens gold medal match at Rio 2016 (Themba Hadebe/AP)

...but Team GB's Jasmine Joyce and Emily Scott were dejected after missing out in their bronze medal match.

Jasmine Joyce and Emily Scott from Team GB's women's rugby sevens team (David Davies/PA)

Some Olympians experience both ends of the spectrum, like Germany's women's hockey team during their quarter-final win against the United States...

Germany's women's hockey players celebrate during their quarter-final with the US

...and then a few days later after losing to the Netherlands in a semi-final shootout.

Players from Germany lie on the pitch after their team lost to Netherlands during their hockey semifinal match at the Rio 2016 Olympics

Italy roared their celebrations after securing a place in the women's water polo final...

Italy's Chiara Tabani celebrates her team's victory over Russia at Rio 2016 Olympics (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

...while their Russian opponents couldn't quite bear to look as the match slipped away.

Russia players react during their women's semifinal water polo match against Italy at the Rio 2016 Olympics (Sergei Grits/AP)

For every Adam Peaty delighting in record-breaking gold medal glory for Great Britain...

Britain's Adam Peaty wins the 100m breaststroke gold medal at Rio 2016 Olympics (Morry Gash/AP)

...there's a Louis Smith after just being pipped to gold by his team-mate Max Whitlock.

Great Britain's Louis Smith looks dejected following the pommel horse routine of the Men's Artistic Gymnastic final at the Rio 2016 Olympics (Owen Humphreys/PA)

We've seen some memorable celebration moments at the Rio Games:

Britain's Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow celebrate winning bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics (Matt Dunham/AP)

Simone Biles celebrates after her winning gymnastics gold in the vault at Rio 2016 Olympics

Germany's Laura Ludwig, and teammate Kira Walkenhorst celebrate gold in women's beach volleyball at Rio 2016 Olympics

But sometimes success can be pretty overwhelming and get the tears flowing too, as gymnastics silver medallist Aly Raisman, tennis champ Andy Murray, 1500m winner Faith Kipyegon and bronze medallist in the same race Jennifer Simpson showed.

Aly Raisman reacts after news of her silver medal in the all-around final at Rio 2016 Olympics (David Goldman/AP)

Andy Murray reacts after defeating Juan Martin del Potro for Olympic gold at Rio 2016 (Charles Krupa/AP)

Japan's Eri Tosaka celebrates winning a wrestling gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics

Jennifer Simpson cries after taking the bronze medal in the women's 1500m at Rio 2016 Olympics

There's no shame in that - even the greatest of Olympians can get emotional, you know.

Michael Phelps at the Rio 2016 Olympics

There's no doubting that Olympians give it their all in pursuit of that golden moment. But win or lose, they're playing their part in inspiring the next generation of medal hopefuls. And that's a pretty amazing legacy.