31 Days to Rio Summer Games

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The world should be concluding arrangements to storm Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the venue of this year’s Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, will be the first under IOC President Thomas Bach.

There will be 33 events to be held in the host city and at 5 other venues in the cities of São Paulo (Brazil’s largest city), Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília (Brazil’s capital), and Manaus.

The opening ceremony will take place in the world’s famous Maracanã Stadium on August 5, a month from tomorrow. In fact the interim President of Brazil Mr. Michel Temer has issued a statement on the Games, embargoed to be published tomorrow, July 5, one month to the opening of the Games (August 5-21) in news outlets throughout the world, including the Daily Observer.

He is expected to address Brazil’s readiness, its security, and transport and more importantly the status of the recent outbreak of the deadly Zika virus that, as it has been rumored, might hurt the Games.

Following its tradition, the Olympic flame was lit at the temple of Hera in Olympia on April 21, 2016, which is the traditional start of the Greek phase of the torch relay. On April 27, the flame was handed over to the Brazilian organizers at a ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece. Brief stops were made in Switzerland to visit the IOC headquarters and the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, as well as the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The torch’s relay began its Brazilian journey on May 3 at the capital Brasília, and it visited more than 300 Brazilian cities (including all the 26 states capitals and the Brazilian Federal District), with the last part to be held in the city of Rio de Janeiro, lighting the cauldron during the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony on August 5, the day the Games begin.

According to IOC sources, for the first time in the history of the Summer Olympics, the main cauldron will not be permanently located at the Games’ main stadiums. Instead, the official cauldron will be located on the Port of Rio de Janeiro, in a format similar to that of the 2010 Winter Olympics, where the cauldron was located outside the Vancouver Convention Center.

The Summer Olympic program will feature 28 sports and a total of 41 disciplines and 306 events. Among the sports are soccer, aquatics (diving, swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo), archery, athletics, and badminton, basketball, boxing and canoeing (slalom and sprint).

Others are cycling (BMX, mountain biking, road and track) fencing, field hockey, golf and gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic and trampoline), handball, judo, modern pentathlon, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, (beach volleyball) weightlifting and wrestling (freestyle and Greco-Roman). 186 National Olympic Committees, including Liberia, have qualified at least one athlete, and a team of Refugee Olympic Athletes will also participate. South Sudan and Kosovo are expecting to debut in the Olympic Games.

Though Liberian officials have complained about lack of finance for its Olympic Squad, LNOC officials are working to ensure that a team of track and field athletes, domiciling in the United States, can represent the country.

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