A lot of the talk surrounding the Olympics has been very negative. Thankfully, I’m here to remind you of all the positive. With a little under two weeks until the opening ceremony, here are my reasons for getting exciting for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Michael Phelps Returns to the Olympic Pool for One Last Time
Michael Phelps announced after the 2012 London Olympics that he was going to hang up his cap and goggles. After a little over two years the 30-year-old swimmer announced he wasn’t done just quite yet. Phelps, already the most decorated olympian of all time, is looking to add to his 18 gold medals (22 medals all together).
Katie Ledecky Will Break Her Own Records
Katie Ledecky is one of the best female swimmer’s in the world right now and she is only 19 years old. Ledecky has the possibility to win four gold medals in Rio, and I think she can. Ledecky will swim in the 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle relay. She currently holds the record for the 400, 800 and 1,500 meter distances. I can barely swim one lap without feeling like I’m going to drown.
Ledecky has been described as “the best athlete in the world” by Outside magazine and that’s a very fair judgement.
USA’s Gymnastics Has a New Star
In London it was Gabby Douglas, and now four years later it’s Simone Biles turn for the spotlight. The 19-year-old earned her spot on the U.S Olympic team as the top all-around performer at the Olympic Trials. Biles is a three-time world champion and four-time national champion from Spring. The Houston native will capture America’s heart by the end of Olympics.
Here is what you have to look forward to. Spoiler alert… it’s amazing.
The U.S. Women’s Soccer is Looking to Win a Second Straight Gold Medal
The reigning World Cup champions are looking to once again prove to the world that they are No. 1. With the World Cup just a little over a year ago, the roster will look completely different than what we saw in Canada. The biggest name missing, Abby Wambach. Wambach, who retired as the all-time leading scorer, will be missed that’s for sure. Other names missing include Lauren Holiday (retired), Christine Rampone (injury) and Sydney Leroux (pregnant).
With some big names missing, there is no need to worry. The new talent that the women’s team has is some of the best I’ve seen. One name to watch for is Mallory Pugh, 18-year-old forward out of Colorado. My scouting report on Pugh… she’s GOOD.
No team has won the Women’s World Cup and and Olympic Gold in consecutive years. Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, and Hope Solo will ultimately be the three who will lead this team to that.
Kerri Walsh Jennings Will Have a New Partner
The sand volleyball star will be competing in her fifth straight Olympics, but this time without longtime partner, Misty May-Treanor. May-Treanor retired after the 2012 London Games after winning a third straight gold medal with Walsh Jennings. The two beat fellow Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, Walsh Jenning’s new partner. Expect nothing less than a gold medal from these two.
Golf Has Been Added as an Event
For the first time since the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, golf will be an event at the Summer Olympics. It will feature both men and women’s individuals events. The U.S. men’s team includes Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar. The women’s tea includes Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller.
Big names like Jason Day, Rory McIlory, Jordan Speith and Dustin Johnson all turned down the opportunity to represent their country due to concerns of the Zika virus.
Handball is awesome
The Olympics are great for many reasons, but one of my favorite reasons is handball. Handball is basically a mixture of both soccer and basketball. In my opinion, it is one of the most fun events to watch because you rarely ever get to watch it expect for the Olympics.
In case you need to familiarize yourself with this amazing sport, watch the following video.
Because Boogie is For America
DeMarcus Cousins will represent Kentucky on the Team USA basketball team. With injuries to both Anthony Davis and John Wall, Cousins was the only former Cat selected to the roster. Team USA is looking to win a third straight gold medal, and they probably will.
Unlike London’s five hour time difference, Rio is just an hour ahead of the Eastern time zone. So thankfully this year we will get to watch all the exciting games and events live. Yay to no spoiler alerts!!
If nothing else can get you excited, then watch this video of Katy Perry’s “Rise” and I’m sure you’ll be chanting U-S-A by the end.