2016 RIO OLYMPIC GAMES – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Rio_Olympics
The Summer 2016 Olympics are to be held in Rio de Janeiro // Courtesy of André Luiz Mello and Olympic.org

This week the Olympic torch will be lit at the Opening Ceremonies, signifying the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While the official start of the Games is August 5th, some sports will begin on August 3rd, and they will conclude on August 21st with the Closing Ceremonies.

This year, 206 countries are being represented at the Games, while 10,500 athletes will be competing. This Games signifies a special occurrence, as 10 athletes will  make up the first refugee team to compete at the Olympic Games; they will do so under the Olympic flag and walk in the Opening Ceremonies to the Olympic anthem.

“This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis.” – IOC president Thomas Bach

Rose Nathike Lokonyen is a member of the Refugee team
Rose Nathike Lokonyen is a member of the first Olympic refugee team // Courtesy of Olympic.org

Two sports are new to the Olympic Games this year. Golf is returning to the event after 112 years, although many of the big names of the sport will not be competing. Rugby sevens, a seven-a-side version of rugby, will be joining the list of sports at the Games for the first time with both men and women’s teams competing.

In national news, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be comprised of 263 men and 292 women, the most ever from one country. The team will make their debut at the Opening Ceremonies wearing what else but Polo Ralph Lauren. This year, the designs incorporate the patriotic red, white, and blue colors in a uniform of blazers, striped T-shirts, white denim jeans, boat shoes, and complimentary accessories. The Flag Bearer Jacket, to be worn by the honorary U.S. flag bearer, is promised to be something special. The innovative jacket will include electroluminescent panels that continue to combine fashion with technology. 

“The Flag Bearer Jacket will literally light the way for Team USA as they represent our country in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. This groundbreaking jacket exemplifies Ralph Lauren’s continued exploration of the intersection of fashion and technology. For an athlete, being chosen as the flag bearer for Team USA is an extraordinary honor, and we wanted to pay tribute to that position. Ralph Lauren is incredibly proud to dress America’s best and brightest athletes at the world’s premier sporting event.” – David Lauren, Executive Vice President, Global Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Team USA in the Olympic Opening Ceremony uniforms designed Polo Ralph Lauren // Courtesy of Ralph Lauren and USA Today
Team USA in the Olympic Opening Ceremony uniforms designed Polo Ralph Lauren // Courtesy of Ralph Lauren + USA Today

While some fan favorites; such as swimmers Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky, and Missy Franklin; gymnasts Gabrielle Douglas and Aly Raisman; track star Ashton Eaton; beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings; tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams; basketball players Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony; and soccer stars Alex Morgan and Hope Solo will be returning to the U.S. team, there are also some newcomers that have been pegged as future medalists.

Number one on that list is gymnast Simone Biles, a 19-year-old three time world champion who is expected to win the individual all-around gold. Her signature move, the “Biles,” a double lay-out flip with a half-twist and blind landing, is stunning to watch. This move, along with her routines, have a high difficulty rating, making her almost a sure-win for the Olympic title. We can’t wait to see her hopefully lead herself and the rest of the U.S. women’s team to victory next month.

Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, and Simone Biles of the 2016 U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team // Courtesy of USA Today Sports + Kyle Terada
Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, and Simone Biles of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team // Courtesy of USA Today Sports + Kyle Terada

There are also high hopes for the U.S. women’s soccer team to win the gold this year, as they have since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Seven players are returning to the Olympics to defend their title and help the team be the first to win the World Cup and Olympic gold medal back-to-back.

Tune in to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to see who the winners of the 2,488 medals will be in the coming weeks. Go Team USA!

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