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Some Olympic athletes earned gold, some were golden and some got left behind

By Dave Goldman 11:01 PM August 22, 2016

The Olympics are over — let’s start at the bottom.

Ryan Lochte — that was an expensive party. Today Speedo, Gentle Hair Removal, Airweave Mattress and Ralph Lauren all dropped him as a spokesman.

Who could have guessed an attempted break-in to grungy bathroom at a petrol station in Rio on an early weekend morning would trigger an international scandal? It’s like Watergate without the booze. If they’d only waited until they got back to the Olympic village. Now Ryan is really locked out.

Who would you rather be?  Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt?  The power boat or the Ferrari?

Phelps has 23 gold medals to Bolt’s eight, but they’re different events. And there are more sprinters than swimmers in the world, so Bolt’s pool is wide too. Each has the perfect body for his sport — Phelps has flippers for feet and the wingspan of a 747 and Usain Bolt is 6 feet 5 inches tall and runs like… Usain Bolt. And he smiles at you too because he knows he’s faster.

This was it, the last Olympics for each. Phelps or Bolt? Surf or turf? Tough choice.

With all the stories of victory, three athletes left without gold, but left golden. Abbey D’Agostino of the U.S. and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin — running in the 5,000 meter, they collided. D’Agostino tore her ACL while Hamblin was on the ground with the pack long gone and the race out of reach. So they helped the other up, each finished, each received an Olympic medal for sportsmanship — not the one they came for but one they earned.

And how about Sam Kendricks? The 24-year-old pole vaulter was in the middle of his run and heard the Star Spangled Banner playing. So the Army reservist stopped, put the pole vault down and stood at attention.

As the son and son-in-law of Vietnam veterans and nephew of a World War II vet, it was a display of respect and patriotism that made me want to salute him, and I do. And he won the bronze.

As parents, we hope our children will succeed at whatever they do. I don’t know if my kids will get to the Olympics, but I’ll be proud to see them behave the way these three did.  Phelps, Bolt, Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles should reap their deserved benefits, but if companies are looking for someone else worthy, these three look great: Sam Kendricks, Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin won’t become household names, but they should.

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