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It’s been four years in the making but the 2016 Rio Olympic Games are almost here. Before you go brushing up on your Portuguese and pouring yourself a caipirinha, find out everything you need to know so you don’t miss a minute of the sporting action.
As the name suggests, the 2016 Rio Olympics are being held in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro from Friday 5 August to Saturday 21 August. Rio trumped Madrid by 66 votes to win the bid back in October 2009. This will be the first Olympics ever held in Rio, with the Games expected to help regenerate the city and country’s social and financial reputation.
The opening ceremony kicks off at 8pm BRT on 5 August. Lucky for Australians, the time difference means you’ll need to set your alarm clocks for 9am on Saturday 6 if you want to wake up to watch the Games get underway at the Maracana Stadium.
There are 4,924 medals up for grabs across 42 sports played in 4 venues across 17 days of action. 10,500 athletes from 602 countries will be attending, along with 315 horses. Around 140,000 people will be involved in running the Games. 90,000 of these will be employees, outsourced staff, and media, and the other 50,000 will be volunteers. Approximately 3.6 billion global viewers will tune in to watch, with 3 billion of those utilising a second-screen device. If you haven’t yet joined Twitter, now would be a good time to start.
Golf returns to the Games this year after a 112 year hiatus, as does sevens rugby after 92 years.
While the opening ceremony starts the Games on Friday 5th, the action actually begins two days before with the highly anticipated football competition (featuring Brazil star, Neymar) kicking off on 3 August. Here’s a brief break down of when the big events begin:
Make sure you tune into the men’s 100m final on 14 August to see Usain Bolt run for his 3rd Olympic gold. If he takes out the medal, he will become a triple Olympic champion following wins in Beijing and London.
Just as importantly, Jamaica’s Shelly-ann Fraser-Pryce could make history by becoming the first woman to win three Olympic 100m titles in a row and cement her spot as the greatest female sprinter of all time.
America’s Michael Phelps is back in the pool competing in his fifth Olympic games, having already won 22 Olympic medals.
And finally, watch homegrown favourites Talita Antunes and Larisa Franca fight it out on Copacabana Beach in the beach volleyball competition after having secured 61-straight victories in the lead up to the Games.
Australia are expected to send 440 athletes to Rio in August, and are hoping to scoop 13 gold medals, with our best chances being in the pool. Keep your eyes peeled for young hot shot Mitch Larkin, as well as Emily Seebohm, as both vie for gold medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke. Bronte Campbell will compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle, as well as heading up our chances in the women’s 4x100m relay.
Things are also looking good at Barra Velodrome with three chances for gold in the cycling. These include Anna Meares, Annette Edmondson and the women’s team pursuit.
Rounding out our gold hopefuls are our sailing team, Kim Crow in the women’s single sculls and our men’s hockey champions.
Don’t be too sad when the summer Olympics wrap up on August 21st. There’s another two weeks of sport to follow when the Paralympics run from 7 September to 18 September.