Rio is the home of over 11000 people across the globe for the next three weeks.
Brazil is rich in culture and custom, and will serve it’s audience the best the Games has to offer.
The build up to the Games is synonymous to the 2015 Africa Cup of nations when Ebola controlled the air waves. Brazil has it’s own news headliner to get the sceptics place their fingers on the keyboard and predict either doom or success. Some have said ‘it will require the heaven of Brazil to ensure a festival of such caliber end without casualties,’ whilst others says ‘it will be miraculous’ to exit Rio without encountering the usual social vices.
Reports that the water venues for the open swim and rowing dams water safe has forced athletes to be extra concerned about the bacteria, with the U.S rowing team even planning on wearing antimicrobial suits.
Human body parts reportedly washed ashore at the Copacabana, yards from the site of beach volleyball, send ice down the spines of visitors.
And the chief health crisis facing the Rio Games — the Zika virus outbreak and the corresponding fear of the known (birth defects) and unknown. The virus has caused a virtual panic in Central and South America, not to mention among Olympic athletes. It’s a familiar story: If the Zika virus doesn’t get them, the cure might do them in. Earlier this month, government officials announced that they were escalating the War on Zika with an air campaign of insecticides and larvicides designed to kill the mosquitoes that spread the virus. The government swears, however, they’re not using DDT.
However, here is Rio swallowing the world.
Throwing the fear through the window and embracing the pitch, the arch, the pools and the rings, notable stars flew into the North American country to bow of the game they love best whilst others are seeing the games as one in more to come.
Michael Phelps retired as the most decorated U.S. Olympian — a staggering 18 gold medals — and he returns with the same status. But it’s clear he came back to secure his legacy.
There is Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth, Kevin Durant the American NBA legend, and George Lyon will finally have a successor after 112 years as the only Canadian reigning gold medalist in Olympic golf since the St. Louis Games in 1904, the last year it was an Olympic sport. But in 2016, golf returns as an individual stroke-play competition.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski takes the reins of his last Olympic team having already left a legacy. The U.S team having not lost an international game in 10 years, is on a globetrotters-like run. Krzyzewski is the only men’s coach to have won gold at the Olympics and the FIBA World Cup, while also possessing an NCAA Championship. In 2012, he became just the second coach to lead teams to back-to-back Olympic gold medals (Hank Iba won the Olympics in 1964 and 1968) and is now tied with Iba for most U.S. Olympic coaching assignments. In 14 international competitions since 1979.
The blot on Krzyzewski is the absence of top players, including LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
Usain Bolt may not be the man flying the flag of the country when they assemble to display their national pride, but he is the star and recognizing a good story out of these Olympic Games without the speedster will be weird. His story would certainly be a good one. The 29-year-old, likely in his final Olympic appearance, is bidding to become the first athlete to win gold in the the 100- and 200-meter as well as the 4×100-meter relay in three consecutive Olympics. Simply put, there has never been anyone like him.
The U.S. women’s soccer team, tops in the FIFA rankings, is seeking its fifth gold medal in six Olympic Games — thereby becoming the first nation to win a gold medal and the World Cup in consecutive years. To do it, they’ll have to work harder than at the World Cup, requiring up to six matches in 17 days with a roster of 18 players (that’s five fewer than at the World Cup).
The stars has expected to make the mark, but the like every competions, the stars will arise out of the blue.
Muftawu Nabila Abdulai-GCBM Sports Correspondent