Before You Watch: Key Facts About The 2016 Rio Olympics
The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have been knee-deep in controversy since the very beginning. With storylines popping up all over the place about the Zika Virus, athletes dropping out of the competition, entire teams being banned for doping violations and unhygienic water, it can be difficult to figure out what you need to know as a humble viewer turning on the TV when the competition starts. Get caught up before the opening ceremony with these lighter key facts.
First For South America
Brazil will be the first South American nation to host the Olympics in history. Beating out Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo in their 2009 Olympic bid, Brazil focused on Rio de Janeiro's history of hosting large sporting events like the World Cup and the unforgettable experience attendees and viewers would get from coming to the Olympics or watching it on broadcasts around the world. Brazil's previous bids for the 1936 Olympics, 2004 Olympics and 2012 Olympics were unsuccessful. The only other South American country that has ever made a bid for the Olympic Games is Argentina.
Only two slots opened up for new sports in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Some of the sports vying for a bid were those that had been part of the Olympics in the past, such as baseball. But you'll have to save your baseball garden statue for the MLB playoffs. The sports that won the coveted spots were rugby sevens, a small version of rugby, and golf. Both aren't new to the Olympics. The sport known as rugby union was last played in the 1924 Olympics. Golf hasn't been a part of the Games since it was last played in 1904. It will have men's and women's individual competitions.
Athletes Of No Nation
You may notice a few athletes competing under a curious flag at the Olympics this time around. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is funding 10 athletes that are under refugee status by the United Nations. These athletes fled their countries but have not yet gained citizenship in the countries where they currently reside. Without a country, athletes can't officially compete. The selection of refugee athletes come from all over the world, including South Sudan, Syria and Ethiopia. Six athletes are in track & field, two are in swimming and two are competing in judo.
By The Numbers
Over 10,000 athletes are expected to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which is about the same number of athletes that competed in the 2012 London Olympics. Team USA is expected to bring the most athletes to Rio after hauling a second-place 556 athletes to London four years ago. Team USA also brought home the most gold and overall medals in London, with 46 gold and 104 overall, edging out China and Great Britain. Brazil finished tied for 15th in the overall medal count in London, with 17 medals, a number they'll be hoping to boost significantly on their home turf.
Despite all the controversy surrounding the 2016 Rio Olympics, when the Games actually start all that will really matter for people watching around the world is the individual Olympians and the countries they represent. Support Team USA with items from LTD Commodities, from seasonal garden flags to show your allegiance or red, white and blue apparel to celebrate American victory.