Rio 2016: Nations, Contaminations and Swimming Sensations
Image Credit: Getty Images/Bick Photos
The 2016 Rio Olympics began this week, both hotly anticipated and surrounded by the usual socio-political turmoil we’ve become accustomed to any international event attracting. Enshrouded in clouds of Zika virus, this Olympics has already made headlines for reasons mostly concerning security and infrastructural shortcomings. This years Games motto: “Um Mundo novo” (“A new world”). Unfortunately appropriate; the Olympics have drawn attention to much of Brazil’s current financial and socio-political turmoil. Should be a good one! That said, there is still plenty to look forward to. With 306 events and over 10,000 athletes participating in the tropical Brazilian coastal metropolis of Rio di Janeiro, these Games will no doubt succeed in drawing in millions of viewers over the next few weeks. Britain has already claimed a Gold; possibly the last time (until the 2020 Olympics) that our national will collectively cheer for anyone doing breaststroke. Here are 5 more scintillating events still to come. Some are well-known while others are, frankly, ridiculed. So, tune in and enjoy! Just don’t go in the water (I wish that was a joke, but it is actually legitimate advice, it’s highly contaminated).
The pinnacle of Olympic events, and also one of the shortest. Strap in for the most exciting 10 seconds of the Games. It’s the 100 metre Finals. Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin are expected to be battling it out in the men’s final, Gatlin having run the fastest 100 metre this year and Bolt chasing a third consecutive gold medal at the Games. Whoever wins, its going to be a very close one. In the women’s category, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Price Fraser races for her third Olympic gold, with odds in her favour to complete the feat. The women’s 100 metre final takes place on the 13th at 2.40 am, the men’s on the 14th at 2.25am(with a running time of approximately 11 seconds, bring plenty of snacks).
Do you like Canoes? Do you like Sprinting? Look no further than Canoe sprints. The difference between the Kayak and Canoe is an age-old distinction we’ve all fallen for (just me?). In this case, the Canoe sees the athlete crouched on one knee, while the Kayak is narrower and has its athlete seated, with legs inside the vessel. Exciting stuff, for sure. Not to mention someone might fall in and that’s always funny, right? This pure sporting majesty will hit your screens on 15th August.
Gymnastics and rhythm? Like Jagermeister and Red Bull, somehow, it just works. Rhythmic Gymnastics, combining ballet, dance and apparatus manipulation into a choreographed routine will draw in large audiences for its aesthetic value. The sport itself demands power, flexibility and agility of an elite standard and, I assume, some killer dance moves. The Women’s all round and team qualifiers start on the 19th August. Tune in for thrills, spills and rhythm of the highest calibre. The individual finals take place on the 20th August, the team finals, on the 21st.
You remember walking? Well forget what you know, because Race-walking is here and it’s bigger, better and slightly quicker than walking. The rules are simple enough. The back toe cannot leave the ground until the front heel has touched the ground. Legs must also remain straightened with each stride, with arms and shoulders kept low to the sides. This prevents the chance of a running race, which is no where near as fun to watch. Olympic commentator, Bob Costas, once derided the sport as being similar to a “Loudest Whisperer” competition. Tune in and see if he was right all along. Men’s 20 km final takes place on the 12th August. The men’s 50 km and Women’s 20 km are scheduled for the 19th.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, takes on his fellow compatriot, and possibly greatest rival, Ryan Lochte in the 200 metre Individual Medley. Between them, they possess 93 Olympic and World Championship medals. For Phelps, his last Olympics, and a chance to add to his unrivalled 22 Olympic medals (18 of which are gold). For Lochte, the man who has been on Phelps’ heels for the last 4 four competitions they’ve both participated in, this might symbolise the beginning of his own domination of the event for the foreseeable future. There are so many dimensions to this rivalry, it could be more exciting than the Race-walking finals (as if!). These two aquatic titans meet in the heats on the 10th, with the finals on the 12th.