The 2016 Rio Olympics begin on Wednesday, Aug. 3. NBC touts this as the “most live Olympics ever” since the time difference is just one hour. That’s fantastic for all sports fans who had to place tape over the bottom of their TVs (yes, I did!) in past Olympic years or leave the room to avoid the Spoiler Alerts.
The 19-day event promises an unprecedented 6,755 hours over NBCs sports channels. The first live telecasts on that Wednesday will start with women’s soccer prelims, then men’s prelims take place on Thursday, Aug. 4. The Opening Ceremonies will take place on Friday, Aug. 5 on NBC.
I’m looking forward to getting past all of the negative that has encircled this Summer Games and watching the gripping competition and the stories of the athletes and what they have had to sacrifice in their journeys to the Olympics.
I don’t recall what station I was watching last weekend, but they were profiling several Olympians and Paralympians and their struggles. One Paralympian track standout was born with a congenital defect that robbed him of a lower right arm. He’s expected to win a medal in the high jump. Every day he travels on a bus, a train, another bus, a van and then another bus just to get to his training stadium. That’s just one example of the reality TV that we can all look forward to watching.
The Games will also mark the 40th anniversary of Romania gymnast Nadia Comaneci’s first Olympic gold at the age of 14. She earned the first-ever perfect 10 in women’s gymnastics and won five medals at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She won three golds, a silver and a bronze and every little girl across the globe wanted to be a gymnast. I had a 4×4 on saw horses in my backyard for a short time.
Nadia defected to Montreal in 1989 and in 1996 married U.S. Olympic gymnast Bart Connor. The couple lives in Oklahoma with their 10-year-old son, Dylan, and runs Connor’s successful Bar Connor Gymnastics Academy. The trio will be in Rio as Nadia’s anniversary is celebrated.
Golf also returns for the first time since 1904. Defending champ George Lyon of Canada was 47 when he beat the 20-somethings in hot, humid Missouri that year. A world record holder in cricket, Lyon was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1956 and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 1971. He passed away at the age of 79 and his Olympic medal is still missing today, though a niece had a replica made after asking for 10 years.
I also have to agree with PGA Tour and World No. 1 Jason Day. He has opted out of the Olympics because of Zika concerns. He was asked if there should be an asterisk on these Olympic Games. Day said in June, ““There won’t be an asterisk. You win a gold medal, you win a gold medal. Will there be an asterisk in Akron this week because Rory and the Europeans didn’t play? You win a tournament based on the competition you played against and it’s great, regardless.”