Images captured during an Olympics set against the spectacular backdrop of Rio de Janeiro highlight Associated Press editors' picks for the top sports photos of 2016.
AP photographers tracked the world's best athletes during the Olympics' first foray into South America. One of the lasting visual memories of the Games is likely to be the green murky water in several pools that was eventually found to be the result of a chemical mix-up.
Two of the longest standing championship droughts in American sports finally came to an end in 2016. LeBron James brought home Cleveland's first major professional sports title since 1964 when the Cavaliers battled back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in June. Cleveland was on the losing end of the equation four months later, when the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 by beating the Indians.
Colin Kaepernick transcended sports when the San Francisco 49ers quarterback decided to sit and then kneel during the national anthem in order to protest what he sees as systematic oppression against people of color in the United States.
Some of sports' biggest stars bid farewell in 2016. Peyton Manning capped his career by leading the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl title over the Carolina Panthers in February. Kobe Bryant ended his legendary run with the Los Angeles Lakers after 19 seasons in the purple and gold. Alex Rodriguez received an inglorious end for a player who was once mentioned among the best who ever played the game. While not retired officially, Rodriguez agreed to a deal with the New York Yankees to end his time as a player on the team in August.