Five things to know about … the Summer Olympics

Andrew Messier, Reporter

The Summer Olympics is an international event that includes 42 sports and only happens every four years.  This year the Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  In just 19 days of competition you can watch up to 306 events from sports ranging from basketball to badminton.  With that in mind, here are five things to watch for during the Summer Olympics.

1)  Will the USA Prevail and Reach Their Expectations? — As usual, expectations are high for the 555 Unites States athletes that are striving for gold medals.  In past Olympics, the United States have been known for dominating in events with their elite athletes like Jesse Owens, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), and Mary Lou Retton.  Although, many questions are still in the air about this United States team.  Will the young, talented women’s gymnastics team uphold their high standards?  What can Michael Phelps do after coming out of retirement?  And can the men’s basketball team find gold again?

2)  Concerns over Zika — Brazil has had many problems in the past decades, but nothing arguably as big as the Zika virus.  There have been many talks about taking the Olympics away from Brazil, but it looks like the Olympics will still go on in Rio de Janiero, a place where about 26,000 people have been suspected to have had Zika.  Because of concerns over Zika and the environment, many athletes have dropped out of the Olympics including professional golfers Jason Day and Rory McIlroy.

3)  The Russian Doping Scandal — As many know, Russia led a cheating scandal during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games that just so happened to be held in Sochi.  Because of their cheating, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had decided that 167 athletes would be banned from the Summer Olympic games.  Also, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decided that they would ban the whole Russian paralympic team for the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

4)  The Refugee Olympic Team — For the first time ever, a team of athletes who live in war-torn countries are competing in the Summer Olympic games.  The team consists of ten athletes who are trying to make a statement about global unrest.  The refugee team even has their own flag and national anthem.  Even if these athletes do not win in their events they still are bringing victory to their causes.

5)  New Sports — The idea of adding to the list of sports in the Olympic games has caught popularity.  Imagine American football, baseball, and surfing being in the Summer Olympic games.  For the Summer Olympics in Rio, two more sports were added into the competitions.  Golf and Rugby Sevens (seven person team rugby) were the new additions to the program.  Now, names like Bubba Watson and the Fiji national team will now be heard because of these exciting new events.