Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that the much-awaited Rio Olympics is here, and it is kicking off in full-swing. You’ve probably been following the performances of the 118 representatives from India who, with their dreams in their backpacks, have set forth to create history. The event, which began on Friday, the 5th of August, is extra special because it witnesses a good 207 countries that are taking part in it, with teams from South Sudan and Kosovo taking part for the first time.
While we cheer on Dipa Karmakar as she qualifies for the Vault Finals and keep our fingers crossed for the rest of the Indian representatives, here are some facts about the Rio Olympics of 2016 which, unless you’re living and breathing sports, you may not be aware of.
- This is the first time that the Olympics are being held in South America. Beating Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid back in 2009 for hosting the games, Brazil has been working towards marking this fortnight to be a historic one from the very beginning. The event will be divided between four different zones – Barra, Copacabana, Deodoro and Maracana, each of which contain different competition venues.
- Golf is making a comeback after a 112 years. The last time the Olympics witnessed international golfers swinging their sticks about on the course was way back in 1904 – even before even the outbreak of the First World War. However, about 16 of the world’s acclaimed top 100 players will be missing from the competition as they have stayed away from Rio in fear of catching the deadly Zika Virus. Some of these include – Australian Jason Day, American Dustin Johnson, American Jordan Spieth, Irish Rory Mcllroy and Australian Adam Scott, according to CBSSports.
- Despite much controversy, a Refugee Olympic Team will be competing in the games for the first time. The team will comprise of five middle-distance runners from South Sudan, two swimmers from Syria, two judokas from the Democratic Republic of Congo and a marathon-runner from Ethiopia. This is a progressive and historic move made by the Committee for the Summer Games this year.
- Even Rugby is making a comeback in the Summer Olympics after 92 years. The last time the world saw the players battling it out on the field was in the 1924 Olympics, where United States won the gold, crushing the host nation, France, with a score of 17-3. This year, the Games will witness an adapted version of Rugby incorporating its modern ‘seven’ forms to keep with the evolution of the game.
- Team Russia will not witness its full contingent performing at the Rio Olympics owing to some of its members being banned from the Games on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) suggestions. The decision followed the recent allegations of a state-run ‘doping programme’ that has been happening for years. The exclusion from the most-awaited event of the year has angered a majority of the Russians, who, in solidarity, held their own games for the banned athletes.
- The youngest athlete to compete this year, against the most internationally experienced and acclaimed players, is the thirteen-year old swimmer Gaurika Singh, who is representing Nepal in the women’s 100m backstroke.
- The ‘Superman’ of Japan, Kohei Uchimura, has declared that his dream is to become the first man since former Japanese Athlete Sawao Kato to become an all-rounder champion at the Olympics this year. Kato had achieved this in the 1972 Olympics. Since then, no male or female athlete has rivalled up, and the chances look fairly good for Uchimura, who has won six straight world all-around titles. No other gymnast has won over three, according to an article by Sports Illustrated.
- This time around, an extreme amount of resources have been spent on security and protection. According to a report by Asia One, about 85,000 soldiers and policemen have been deployed. This is the largest security force that has been recorded at any of the Olympic Games and is almost double the size of the force that was present at the London Olympics of 2012.
- Finally, for all those who whine about the fact that the games are over in the blink of an eye will be happy to note that these Summer Games will last longer. Some of the Paralympic Games like ‘goalball’, ‘sitting volleyball’ and ‘wheel-chair basketball’ will take place between 7th September and 18th
So what are your predictions for the Rio Olympics of 2016? Let us know in the comments below!