For some nations, winning gold medals at the Olympics has become a routine occurrence every four years. For others, however, it's an occasion that will always be remembered in the national consciousness. At the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United States took home 46 gold medals, with a total of medal count of 121. Great Britain and China earned 27 and 26 gold medals, respectively, followed by Russia, Germany, Japan, and France, which all earned at least 10. Those results weren't particularly surprising, considering how much Olympic success those countries have had in the past. On the other hand, there were nine nations that took home gold medals for the very first time in their history. Vietnam, Kosovo, Fiji, Singapore, Puerto Rico (which competes independently in the Olympics), Bahrain, Jordan, Tajikistan and Ivory Coast all boasted gold medalists in 2016, in events as wide-ranging as rugby sevens, taekwondo, steeplechase, swimming, judo, shooting, hammer throw, and tennis. Out of the more than 200 nations that took part in the Games, 59 of them earned gold medals in 2016 -- setting a new record for the largest number of countries to earn gold medals at a single Olympics.
Going for the gold in Rio:
- Fehaid Al-Deehani became the first Kuwaiti to earn a gold medal when he won the double trap shooting event, but he was competing as an independent athlete due to Kuwait's suspension by the International Olympic Committee.
- Kosovo sent athletes to the Olympics for the first time in 2016, with Majlenda Kelmindi winning the women's 52kg judo.
- Monica Puig, an unseeded tennis player from Puerto Rico, became a surprise Olympic champion in women's singles by defeating Germany's Angelique Kerber in the gold medal match.