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Battle Of The ‘Thirsty’: Attention Seeking Athletes At The Rio Olympics

By | [email protected] | August 19, 2016 3:38pm


What is thirst? What makes one thirsty? How is one’s thirst quenched? Thirst is desperation – for water in a literal sense, but in today’s terms, for attention, adoration. But can elite athletes really be classified as desperate? Maybe not exactly desperate no. But clamoring for attention?

Oh yes indeed. Sometimes winning a medal in front of the entire world isn’t enough; they want more adoration, and how do they get it? Well, mostly through copious photos of their ripped abdominals.

Diego Hypólito

Country: Brazil

Sport: Gymnastics

Rio medal count: Silver for men’s floor exercise

Why he’s thirsty: Diego recently brought glory to Brazil, picking up a medal for his home country alongside bronze medalist Arthur Mariano, but the 30-year-old gymnast has long been a familiar face to cariocas. He’s a frequent sight on the Rio party scene and in tabloid shots on the beach, especially with his sister, fellow gymnast Daniele Hypólito. But it’s his love of selfies that truly demonstrates his thirst – selfies on the beach, bathroom mirror selfies, any genre of selfie that allows him to show his abs. Some Brazilians found his outpouring of tears upon winning a silver medal to be on the maudlin side, but we rather like a man who’s not afraid to cry.

Nils Jakob Hoff

Country: Norway

Sport: Rowing

Rio medal count: None

Why he’s thirsty: The beach photos, the baby shots, the messy hair? We see right through you, Nils. Norway hasn’t exactly been dominating the medal count, but apparently it can dominate Instagram.

Usain Bolt


Country: Jamaica

Sport: Track & field

Rio medal count: Gold for the men’s 100m

Why he’s thirsty: Yes, yes Usain Bolt one of the greatest athletes ever, at the very least he’s the fastest man around after winning his third consecutive gold medal in the 100-meter dash. That doesn’t mean he can’t also be thirsty. This is a man who knows to smile for a photo op while crossing the finish line at an Olympic race – a sign of his superior thirst or speed, or both? He did become a meme and win a gold medal after all.

Sam Mikulak

Country: USA

Sport: Gymnastics

Rio medal count: None

Why he’s thirsty: Sam is practically begging us to ogle him. “Maybe [we could] compete with our shirts off,” he told the Wall Street Journal while lamenting the lack of interest in men’s gymnastics. “People make fun of us for wearing tights. But if they saw how yoked we are maybe that would make a difference.” Trust us, Sam, we never make fun of ripped men in tights, but we support your attempt to make all male gymnasts compete shirtless for Tokyo 2020. Sam just wants our attention!

Qin Kai


Country: China

Sport: Diving

Rio medal count: Bronze for men’s synchronized 3m springboard

Why he’s thirsty: Kai found a way to declare his love for his girlfriend, steal her thunder, make international news and display his desperate need for attention all in one act: this man is a true master of thirst. When his longtime girlfriend and fellow diver He Zi won a silver medal, Kai took her moment on the podium to propose marriage. The BBC then called her engagement ring “an even bigger prize.” Good lord, the woman won a silver medal. We’d take that over a ring any day.


Country: Brazil

Sport: Football

Rio medal count: None

Why he’s thirsty: Neymar has to make good on the promise that he’ll bring glory to Brazil, but you know what he does have? Photos with Justin Bieber. And party photos in Las Vegas. And the Brazilian men’s team is still in it after all – sadly the women’s team, which temporarily stole the spotlight from Neymar, is out of gold medal contention.

Rupinder Pal Singh

Country: India

Sport: Field hockey

Rio medal count: None

Why he’s thirsty: Gym selfies aren’t just for gymnasts, divers and swimmers – they are also for field hockey players. Rupinder’s Instagram also has that well-known thirst trap: hunky men with puppies. Sadly the Indian field hockey team is already out of the Olympics, but on the plus side that ought to leave Rupinder with plenty of time for hanging out on the beach.

Tom Daley

Country: Great Britain

Sport: Diving

Rio medal count: Bronze for men’s synchronized 10m platform

Why he’s thirsty: Tom cannot help that his profession involves wearing very, very tiny speedos. Stella McCartney took the time to design some lovely speedos for Team Great Britain, and goddamnit, Tom is going to make sure you see them all over his Instagram. He’s engaged however to filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, so don’t go looking for him on Tinder.

The entire delegation of Tonga


Sports: Archery, swimming, track and field, taekwondo

Rio medal count: None

Why they’re thirsty: We’re not going to pin this prime act of thirst solely on Pita – it took a whole country’s Olympic committee to make the decision lube up the man and send him out with a grass skirt and a flag in front of the whole world. And hey, would you know anything about Tonga if not for this supreme act of thirst? That’s what we thought.