Like most Olympics, the Rio Games were an absolute success, if you ignore what went wrong. Unfortunately, the United States suffered the misfortune of having the immature behavior of four members of its swimming team detract from the nation's record-setting performance in the 17-day competition.
But before getting into what has robbed too much attention from where it should be, let's acknowledge what went right: America's Olympians won the most medals ever for their country: 121 total. Their haul of 46 gold, 37 silver, and 38 bronze medals made the United States only the fifth nation ever to lead each Olympic level.
The overachievers included gymnast Simone Biles. Her four gold and a bronze medal in her first Olympics made her a popular choice to carry the Stars and Stripes for the United States during closing ceremonies. Swimmer Michael Phelps brought home five gold and a silver medal, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time, having won 28 medals in four Games.
Other notable moments for Americans included:
Simone Manuel's setting American and Olympic records in the 100-meter freestyle in becoming the first African American woman to win an individual gold medal in swimming.
Swimmer Katy Ledecki, who won four gold and a silver medal, having to wait 11 seconds to see who would finish behind her in the 800-meter freestyle.
Matt Centrowitz's winning the first gold medal for the United States in the 1,500-meter run since 1908; and Ashton Eaton winning his second gold medal in the decathlon.
The U.S. men won their third straight basketball gold medal; and the women, with Philadelphia's Dawn Staley as an assistant coach, won their sixth.
Usain Bolt may not be an American, but many of his future sponsors could be. In any case, the Jamaican runner deserves mention for his completion of a triple-triple - winning gold medals in the 100, 200, and 4x100-meter relay in three straight Olympic Games. That's a feat unlikely to be repeated anytime soon.
Congratulations are also due Brazil, which pulled off the Olympics without it becoming the Zika-infested disaster that some predicted. That's not to say there weren't problems, including a Portuguese official being robbed at knifepoint; a police officer being killed in one of several nearby shootings involving drug gangs; and the mysterious green color of the Olympics diving pool, apparently caused by its pH level.
The lowest Olympic moment for Brazil came as the Games were concluding when four American swimmers claimed they had been pulled from a taxi and robbed at gunpoint. That turned out to be not true. Ryan Lochte, who has won 12 medals in four Olympics, admitted Saturday that he embellished the story rather than admit to a night of drunken debauchery that ended with him vandalizing property at a gas station.
Brazil will get over Lochte's lies. It has bigger issues to face, including the expected impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff for allegedly manipulating the federal budget. Like past Olympics hosts, Brazil must assess whether the billions spent was worth it. Infrastructure and other improvements didn't reach much of the recession-ravaged country. But that's a discussion for later. Today, it can bask in Rio's success.