After hosting the last FIFA World Cup, Brazil is now set to host the first Olympic Games in South America – starting this Friday, Aug. 5th. Over 10,000 athletes from 206 countries are set to compete, with 3.6 billion people expected to be spectating – 90% of which will have access to smart phones or similar devices while watching. With his infamous return to a 4th Olympic Games, Michael Phelps is currently one of the biggest sports stars on social media. Having already won 18 gold medals over the past three Games, he’s bagged seven more than all of Brazil’s golds over the same time, and of course will be gunning for more. Olympic legend or not, his social media is dwarfed by the Brazilian striker Neymar, with soccer likely to be the most popular event for the people of Brazil.
RIO HAS A FEW SURPRISES IN STORE
1) There will be a completely new team taking part, created by the IOC, the team of Refugee Olympic athletes (ROA) will include up to 10 nominated refugee athletes who will get their own welcome ceremony at the Olympic Village.
2) A sport making a return after a 112 year absence is golf, and Rugby Sevens will make its debut as a new sport comprised of small teams and games just 15 minutes long. Technically the USA holds the last Rugby gold medal won in Paris when it was included in 1924.
3) The Olympic rules state that all competitors must have been born before Jan. 1, 2003, and with young competitors in diving and gymnastics, this will make Rio the first games to have competitors actually born in this millennium.
Previously there were concerns for games attendance figures, with slow ticket sales due to political issues and worries over the Zika virus. However the bulk of the 7.5 million tickets available are already sold, so it looks like Rio’s main Maracanã Stadium will be busy. That said it’s unlikely to match density achieved when 173,000 people crammed in to watch the 1950 World Cup Final.
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