2016 Summer Olympics kick-off in Rio tonight

By Daniel Morgan, Editor

It’s been a long, four-year wait since 2012, but the Summer Olympic Games are finally back!

For two-and-a-half weeks, the 2016 Olympics will be broadcast from host city Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While soccer has already begun, the official start of the games will come after the anticipated opening ceremony later tonight, August 5.
The games have already received a lot of publicity in the past months, especially due to the feared Zika virus. Some athletes have even chosen to drop out of the games because of the virus’ potential effects on pregnancy.

However, several agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), stated that the risk of spreading the Zika virus is low and that there is no reason to postpone the games.

There’s also been some recent controversy as to whether Rio is prepared or financially able to host the games. Regardless, this is the first time that any Olympic Games have been hosted in South America, and for that, we’re celebrating even more than usual.

Much anticipation has been had throughout the world, especially in the United States since the women’s soccer team won its first game against New Zealand on Wednesday. The U.S. team is hoping to score its fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team is also hoping to bring back another gold medal after last year’s “Fierce Five.” The team is led by standout Simone Biles and reigning all-around champ Gabby Douglas.

Of course, what would the Olympics be without Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian of all time? He will be America’s flag-bearer during the opening ceremony. Ryan Lochte, another U.S. swimming standout, has also returned for the games.

Three-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh-Jennings has returned to regain her title, but not with former partner Misty May-Treanor. She’ll be playing with her new teammate, April Ross.

Other U.S. Olympic standouts include tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, basketball’s Kevin Durant, Laurie Hernandez in gymnastics, reining decathlon champ Ashton Eaton, soccer’s Alex Morgan, and many more.

2016 also welcomes golf and rugby back into the Olympic Games lineup after 112 years and 92 years, respectively. They are included in the 306 competitions in 42 different sports featured in Rio’s games.

Catch the opening ceremony tonight from Maracana Stadium at 8 p.m. on NBC, and continue rooting for Team USA throughout the competitions!