Did you guys watch the Opening ceremony of Rio Olympics 2016? One word- Spectacular! Okay, I didn’t watch it. C’mon it was 4 hours long and was streaming live at about 3 a.m in Saudi Arabia. You gotta give this mum a break. The Sports channel here didn’t fail in giving people like us a second chance and I was so excited watching it. From Brazilian artists of various genres performing, to history being told by calisthenics. The art evolved beyond the stadium bowl, as we had glimpses of floating yachts at the sea and the remarkable Rio’s “Christ the Redeemer” statue, fully lit. Celebrities like Gissele Bundchen made an appearance. French President, Francois Hollande was one of the few Leaders present. The participating countries had their members march past gleefully. Even the Refugee group is participating. I didn’t see Nigeria in the highlight reel. Anyway, I hope we represent well. We’ve had a pretty good start with our Under-23 football team(more details coming). Gustavo Kuerten(Former Brazilian Tennis player) was part of the torch lighting team. There were high expectations for the Football Legend, Pele, lighting the torch but it was impossible due to his poor health. The torch finally was lit by Vanderlei De Lima(46 Year old Former Brazilian runner) and fireworks serenaded the whole atmosphere.
This was amazing to see, knowing how much drama took the centre stage before the Olympics. The Zika Virus scare. The doping scandal of the Russian contestants. The Brazilians protesting against their Government(even a night before the opening). Nonetheless, all went well. The golden yellow smiles of the Brazilians and International spectators couldn’t have told it better. There were a bit of ‘boos’ mixed with loud applause as the Russians march past but that was just natural judging from the bad headlines they made before the trip. These contestants came out clean from the screening, so we are good!
11 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RIO 2016
- Strength of Rio 2016: 10,500 athletes from 206 countries are competing in 28 sports, there’s a mountain of action.
2. Time difference: Nigeria is 4 hours ahead of Rio. The opening and closing ceremonies both begin at midnight(Nigerian time) TV viewers in Nigeria will have to stay up long after midnight to catch most marquee swimming and track and field events.
3. Naija Wahala: Nigeria’s Under 23 Football team arrived late to Rio for their game against Japan due to travel mishaps.(Dem hold dem for airport say, Nigeria dey owe airline. Na Delta airline naim come carry our people on credit oh. Naija lo wa! Kilonshele!). Here’s what they said really happened. “The money paid by the [sports] ministry for the charter flight did not hit airline’s account on Tuesday so they refused to fly the team to Brazil,” a source close to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said. They also encountered another issue with plane being too small to fly to Manaus, Brazil. Despite all odds, they arrived very tired and still won their game 5-4. Praiiiisse da living Jesusss! I heard, a delay like this happened 20 years ago which brought them gold medal fortune. So is this going to be another luck? We await. The team is being led by John Mikel Obi. One of the hopefuls, Oghenekaro Etebo has been spotted for his four-goal scoring dazzle against Japan.
4. The Bolt runner: Usain Bolt promises that history will be made as he attempts to defend his 100 m, 200 m and 4×100 m titles in what would be an unprecedented “triple-triple”. American Katie Ledecky is well on her way to becoming the Michael Phelps of women’s swimming, and if Christian Taylor eclipses Edwards’ triple-jump world record, it could be one of the greatest feats of the whole Games. Blessing Okagbare, over to you, sister-gal!
5. Gold-minded refugees: A cause for celebration on its own, 10 refugees will participate under the Olympic flag as the International Olympic Committee formed the unique team for athletes that have fled conflict-ridden countries and regions. The team includes five runners from South Sudan, two swimmers from Syria, two Judokas from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a marathon runner from Ethiopia. I hope they come home with gold medals.That will be a perfect Cinderella story.
6. Zika Virus status: Most commonly transmitted by the aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito, there have also been isolated cases of the Zika virus being spread through blood transfusion or sexual contact. Although the symptoms of the few who go on to become ill after contracting the virus are mild, Zika’s links to microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with abnormal smallness of the head, have legitimized the concerns of those worried about infection. Although Brazil is a Zika “hot zone”, Rio is a long way from the epicenter of the outbreak and the cool, dry August climate will greatly reduce the risk of transmission by mosquitoes. Olympic organizers have also treated their venues with insecticide to further minimize risk. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says there’s a “very low risk” of travelers to Rio being infected during the Olympics, an assessment with which the World Health Organisation has concurred.
7. Trouble in paradise: Brazilian politicians are likely to endure abuse at the Rio Games. Dilma Rousseff will not be one of them; the president is currently battling impeachment and did not attend the opening ceremony along with her predecessor, Lula da Silva. In June, the state government of Rio de Janeiro announced a “state of public calamity” that could cause “total collapse in public security, health, education, mobility and environmental management”. An oil crash has left Rio financially crippled and its people enraged that the Olympics are being prioritized over more pressing public concerns. The Health and Education sectors suffered massively because of this. Policemen complained they haven’t been paid in weeks.
8. Something New: Two new sports have been introduced. Golf and Rugby (in 7s format) are returning to the games for the first time since 1904 and 1924 respectively.
9. History made: This year’s Games will be the first to be held in South America. Europe has hosted the Summer Olympics a total of 16 times. More than 6,000 volunteers will take part in the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
10. Swimming in shit, literally: Despite much effort by the Brazilian Government to clean the contaminated waterways, there’s still trouble in paradise as they waterways are still highly contaminated. Thousands of dead fishes were evacuated from the sea which created great stench, the residents had to cry out. Reports say, there are still enormous dirt in the waterways. Some fecal matter and even dead organisms were seen floating. They say, With the concentration of contamination , swimmers and athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water are almost certain to be infected with viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses and, more rarely, heart and brain inflammation. Almost 1,400 athletes taking part in the sailing, rowing, and open-air swimming, plus thousands of tourists, could be affected. One of the Australian participants is ill but we don’t know what the cause is.
11. People to look out for: Nigerian Female track Athlete, Blessing Okagbare and her track team. Nigerian Athlete, Ejovwokoghene Oduduru (“I-neva-hexperred- it” guy), Mikel Obi and football team, Al- Farouq Aminu(whom I’ve been recently updated about, that he’s not making it due to some mixed up insurance policy). However, Ike Diogu and the rest of the basketball team are present. Let’s not forget other Nationals like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps etc.
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Sending pixie dust to my Nigerian athletes. Give it your best. God bless Nigeria.
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