That picture sums up the Rio Games quite nicely at this point: a bright dancing cat trying to distract us from the fact that almost none of the infrastructure for these games is ready to go. There’s always tension in the buildup to the Olympics, but this year’s Summer Games have taken it 12 steps further, to the point where calling the whole thing off seems like a reasonable option.
However, the IOC doesn’t operate in the realm of reason. That means, in the face of political unrest, pollution, a collapsing economy, the Zika virus, and general disinterest, we’ll almost certainly have another summer of gawking at the speed of Usain Bolt and remembering how fun sports like water polo can be in small doses.
Since the Olympic train won’t stop barreling down the frangible track, we might as well just jump on like a hobo headed out of town. Here are some props for the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio.
The US would’ve been sizable favorites even before the Russian track team was banned. The dismissal of the Ruskies only opens the door for even more success in athletics. In fact, the uncertainty that hangs around the entire Russian Olympic team is the reason their odds are currently worse than Great Britain’s.
The States have led every Summer Games in total medals since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Swimmers generally take home the most individual medals (there are a lot of swimming events), and there may not be a more dominant swimmer currently than Katie Ledecky. The 19-year-old took home five gold medals at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships and has been on fire this year, too.
Old-man Michael Phelps returns for his fourth Olympics, looking to add to his record 18 gold medals. However, he’ll be doing fewer events than in the past, so that means less room for error.
Bolt is only in three events (100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay), but he’s the closest thing to a lock to win three gold.
What a shocker, more swimmers!
With WADA suspending the Rio drug testing lab for not complying to standard, you’d have to think they really want to get the testing right this summer. Even if the testing isn’t quite up to snuff, you’d have to think they’ll catch one medal winner. The 2012 London Games had the lowest number of medals stripped of any Summer Games this millennium, catching a lowly five medal-winners.
The Belarusians have a knack for medaling in the throw-heavy-objects events, then promptly getting stripped of those medals, making them the favorite. The Russians would’ve been, but now, if they do get to send athletes, they’ll probably be the ones who are the absolute best at cheating the system.
Any police presence Brazil actually has will likely be devoted to other things.
The athletes going to Rio, for the most part, seem to understand the risks associated with competing. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be at least one unlucky person who accidentally drinks the water.
But you can double that for days with rowing/kayaking coverage.
(Photo credit: Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil [CC BY 3.0 br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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