THE OLYMPICS ARE HERE! WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE 2016 GAMES
The Rio Olympics begins this weekend, and after all the controversy in recent months – first with the Zika virus and then with the entire Russian team – we’re really looking forward to the actual games beginning. The Olympics is always a special fortnight when we see athletes at their best. People train their entire lives for a change just to compete in the Games, and it’s often very emotional to see people’s dreams come true.
Here are our top things to look out for this Games:
Women’s 100 m
All eyes will be on Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Can she win her third consecutive gold? Her achievements so far have been somewhat overshadowed by fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt but she’s definitely the woman to watch. Can Team GB’s women give her a run for her money though? Asha Philip has missed the last two Olympics through injuries, but goes to Rio with high hopes of a medal. Desiree Henry is one of our leading sprinters, having won a silver medal at the European Championships earlier this year. And Daryll Neita has logged some impressive times at recent events, having won a silver medal at her first senior trials in Birmingham this June.
After London 2012 when Team GB were heart-breakingly bumped down to bronze medals – still Britain’s first medal in the event for a century – the men’s gymnastics team has gone to Rio with something to prove. Max Whitlock is definitely one to watch, having really upped his game since a remarkable performance in 2012. He got two bronze medals in London, but achieved a gold at the Commonwealths. He seems to have overtaken team-mate Louis Smith to become arguably the top man in British gymnastics. We’re looking forward to seeing his achievements over the next two weeks!
Really, what’s not to love about Mo Farah? Having won two golds in London, can he repeat that achievement in Rio? There are many worthy adversaries, but let’s not forget he recently broke the British record for 3,000 metres recently and many commentators will say he’s still improving.
Having won gold for the heptathlon at London 2012, one of Team GB’s real sporting heroes is off to Rio with the aim of winning a second medal. She’s in great form, as evidenced by her win at the Anniversary Games. The heptathlon is such a long, draining event for all the athletes that anything can happen and it’s possible that Jessica Ennis-Hill could be knocked from the top stop by team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Either way, it will make amazing viewing, and we could well end up with two brits on the podium.
Why not watch something different…
We all love the stars of the Olympics; the country will be rooted to our seats during the running, the gymnastics and the swimming but there are so many other sports that are just fascinating to watch.
Weight lifting is a sight to behold, as people lift incredible weights. It’s an all or nothing sport, where you either achieve a clean lift or you don’t; amazing to watch.
Dressage is something that doesn’t get a lot of coverage and is often ridiculed as “pony ballet” – but actually, it’s fantastic to watch as riders manage to negotiate highly-trained horses in an elegant and unpredictable event. We’re looking forward to watching Team GB’s Charlotte Dujardin, who currently holds all six elite individual dressage titles. Can she get a second Olympic gold?
Archery is another sport to take your breath away, as competitors test both their nerve and accuracy in individual and team events.
Trampoline gymnastics is one of those sports that puts the rest of us having fun bouncing around to shame. With amazing exhibitions of aerial acrobatics, this is something to inspire us all.
We can’t wait for the opening ceremony to begin tonight; some of the events have already begun but this weekend will see Rio 2016 getting into full swing with rowing, shooting, water polo, table tennis, archery, fencing, cycling, volley ball and lots of other events. This is a great time to be inspired to take up a new sport.