They may not have made it onto the podium, but here are our alternative winners of this year's Olympics


Now that the Olympics are drawing to a close, it's time to sit back and take stock of all the action from the past couple of weeks.

Sure, sprint finishes and podium places are what we tend to remember, but there are also some other people who deserve recognition. So we've devised an alternative honours list: giving credit where credit's due.

Max Whitlock
(David Davies/PA)

Gold for: Most painful pole vault.

Poor Hiroki Ogita. There's nothing worse than missing out on your Olympic dream. Except, of course, if your manhood gets painfully in the way of the bar as you try to pole vault. That might be worse.

It probably doesn't help that the whole world has been watching it on repeat in slow motion.

We feel your pain Hiroki, we really do.

Gold for: Best pre-race ritual.

Santo Condorelli traditionally flips his dad the bird before every race, and his dad gives it right back to him. N'aww, familial love.

Gold for: Best supporter.

Mavis Williams
(Chris Radburn/PA)

This has to go to Olympic Nan. Her grandson Adam Peaty may have won a gold medal, but it was 74-year-old Mavis Williams who won our hearts.

Her Twitter bio reads "Proud Nan to a World Champion Breaststroker" and she pretty much reminds us of all our own grandmothers.

Gold for: Best facial expressions.

Synchronised swimming
(John Walton/PA)

Synchronised swimming is perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but it's got to be said that those swimmers sure know how to pull bizarre faces.

Synchronised swimming
(John Walton/PA)

So. Much. Feeling.

Synchronised swimming
(Matt Dunham/AP)

They also win our gold for some of the most ridiculous outfits.

Gold for: Most outrageous press conference.

If someone was going to bring pomp and circumstance to the Games, it was going to be Bolt. And boy did he deliver: instead of running a normal press conference he put on what was essentially a celebration of himself, complete with a conga line. We expect nothing less from the fastest man on earth.

Gold for: Best surprise appearance.

Everyone is obsessed with Simone Biles right now. All of us have watched her performances with awe, and have briefly considered pursuing a career in gymnastics (but then realising that we can't even do a roly-poly so it's probably a no-go). We'd be completely star-struck to meet her - but who would Biles freak out at meeting herself?

Turns out, it's Zac Efron. And it's really quite adorable.

Gold for: Best boomerang throw.

We're assuming that Chinese swimmer Sun Yan meant to throw his cap into the crowd, but unfortunately for him it didn't quite go to plan. Our favourite bit is watching him scurry back to pick up the hat - that's got to put a bit of a downer on your celebration.

Gold for: Best fanboy moment.

What a year it's been for British cycling. However, in this list we want to give props to Mark Cavendish not for his riding, but for successfully crashing Chris Hoy's interview to ask for an autograph.

Gold for: Best hair.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
(Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

This has to go to Jamaican athlete Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, whose dedication to her country's colours is so impressive that it's reflected in the yellow and green ombre of her hair.

American swimmer Ryan Lochte is definitely not on the podium for this prize, after bleaching his hair and it accidentally going an interesting shade of turquoise in the pool.

Gold for: Best selfie.

This has got to go to the gymnasts from North and South Korea. Hong Un-jong from North Korea and Lee Eun-ju from South Korea took a heartwarming selfie together, despite their countries being at war.