Let the Rio Games begin! Anticipation building for opening ceremony

An athlete serves a ball during her training at the Copacabana beach volleyball arena prior the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Michael Phelps competes in the 100-meter butterfly during the Arena Grand Prix, Thursday, April 24, 2014, in Mesa, Ariz. It is Phelps’ first competitive event after a nearly two-year retirement. (AP Photo/Matt York)

United States goalkeeper Hope Solo takes the ball during a women’s Olympic football tournament match against New Zealand at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Eugenio Savio)

Brazilian Rico de Souza celebrates with the crowd as he prepares to surf with the Olympic torch at Macumba beach as the torch relay continues on its journey to the opening ceremony of Rio’s 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Close up of an American baseball ball


Facts &



Rio de Janeiro is the first city in South America to host the Olympics.


Number of sports under the official program, including two new sports: golf and rugby sevens.


Number of competition venues, including five soccer stadiums located outside of Rio de Janeiro.


Roughly the number of athletes competing.


Total number medals produced for the Rio Games: 812 gold, 812 silver and 864 bronze. Some competitions award two bronze medals.

500 grams

(17.6 ounces) The weight of the medals. The name of the event in which the medal was won is engraved by laser along the outside edge of the medal.

— The Associated Press

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will open in just a few hours and, well, many of us are unsure what exactly to expect.

But this is the Olympics!

Amazing feats of human speed, agility, strength, accuracy and endurance! National anthems played as joy and tears overflow! Gold medals!

Or, in this case, gold medals mostly made of silver (494 grams) with some gold (6 grams), according to abc.net.

But who will win them? Michael Phelps? Usain Bolt? Who will astonish us during these games?

The Olympic Games are a spectacle, to be sure. Here are some details to know as we anticipate the 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony (televised at 5:30 p.m. on NBC) and the Olympic sporting events.

On your mark

Wait, the competition has already started.

The women’s soccer teams from Sweden and South Africa began the games on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Sweden won the game 1–0.

The Olympics began with soccer for United States as well on Wednesday.

The U.S. women’s soccer team defeated the New Zealand team 2–0.


Time to party

With plenty of focus on various issues surrounding the Rio Games — Zika, polluted water and beaches, terrorism fears, doping, economic woes, protests — little attention has been given to the opening ceremony and what kind of spectacular affair it will, or won’t, be.

Rio2016.com simply refers to it as a “show of lights, sounds and colours.”

“The programme expects a display that will highlight Brazil’s diverse nature and the festive and welcoming way of Brazilians. Music and dance will be the highlights.”

Hmmm. It’s rather a nanticlimactic description. Especially since this is Rio, home of the biggest carnival in the world! And the world will be watching this opening ceremony.

So a few more details, thanks to cnn.com: Watch for Brazilian singers Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, plenty of samba dancers, model Lea T, a 12-year-old rapper and Gilsele Bündchen as the “girl from Ipanema.”

It’s supposed to be a party on a tight budget. So ... we’ll see.


The U.S. flag bearer is…

Michael Phelps, of course, will carry Old Glory into Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the head of Team USA.

The swimmer is the most decorated athlete in Olympic history with 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall.

Rio will be the fifth Olympic games Phelps has competed in — he was 15 at the 2000 Sydney Games and is now 31. He became a dad in May.

Amazingly, this opening ceremony will be the first he has attended.

During the Rio Games Phelps is set to swim the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and the 200-meter individual medley.


Wait, where is Team USA?

Don’t tune in late to the Rio Opening Ceremony expecting to still see Team USA walking into the Maracana Stadium.

Look for them under E, not U. The ceremony will be in Portuguese, the language of host country Brazil, thus the team from Estados Unidos will march in earlier.

The team will be wearing — created by Polo Ralph Lauren — striped T-shirts with navy blazers emblazoned with “USA” in white block letters on the back and the U.S. Olympic logo on the front.

The blazers will be paired with white denim jeans and red, white and blue boat shoes, according to The Associated Press.

Phelps, as the flag bearer, will sport a blazer with electroluminescent panels to illuminate the team logo and “USA” lettering.


The flame goes to…

Pelé? Brazil’s most famous athlete seems like the obvious choice to light the Olympic cauldron.

The 75-year-old soccer legend already played a part in the torch relay through Brazil by holding the torch on July 22 at the Pelé Museum in the town of Santos, according to Olympic.org.


You’re not that interested in the Olympics? Then consider watching the Kitten Summer Games at 6 p.m. Friday evening on the Hallmark Channel. Ninety kitties will “compete,” and Mary Carillo and David Frei will host.


Just wait

Five sports will be added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to an unanimous vote by IOC members, according to The Associated Press.

The sports are baseball/softball, skateboarding, surfing, karate and sport climbing.


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