2016 Olympics: 5 Reasons We Can't Wait for Rio
Yes, the 2012 Summer Olympics aren’t quite over yet. That doesn’t mean we can’t already look forward to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
London has done an admirable job hosting, even through fears that the city was not adequately prepared for such a massive event. Rio faces much the same, although it has four years to sort things out.
But just as 2012 has been distinctly British and 2008 distinctly Chinese, 2016 will be distinctly Brazilian. It’s futile to compare two Olympics in terms of the spectacle, because two hosts will be too different to compare.
That said, here are five reasons why the 2016 Olympics should be exciting.
5. The Time Difference Is More Friendly
Depending on where you live in the United States, London is anywhere between five (East Coast) and 10 (Hawaii) hours ahead. That leads to less live viewing and more watching highlights.
Rio is between one and six hours ahead of American time zones. That will allow more people to take in the Games live, and hopefully, it will make it necessary for NBC to show more events live.
That might be a little too hopeful. In any case, a smaller time difference makes it easier for us to be close to the action.
4. Some Stars Return…
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Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Alex Morgan and Ashton Eaton, among many others, will return for the 2016 Olympics, hoping to extend their dominance. It will be another chance to see many athletes whose competitions get little mainstream attention outside of Olympic years.
Aside from the injustice of being largely unseen for three years out of four, it does make the Olympics that much more exciting. Imagine NFL or NBA players becoming household names when they are only on television every fourth year.
It just doesn’t happen.
3. …While Some New Stars Emerge
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Perhaps the biggest stars of the 2016 Olympics are unknown to many right now. That’s the one strange sort of beauty about the four-year Olympic cycle: Every four years is an adventure of athletic discovery.
Of course, some current Olympians will also emerge in Rio with four more years of training and experience under their belts. Yohan Blake may take over the torch from Usain Bolt, for example.
Also, think about this: Some potential Olympian gymnasts in 2016 are just 12 years old right now. It’s crazy to think about.
2. Talk About a Party
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Brazilians are never shy about putting on a show. From its soccer traditions of jogo bonito to its martial arts style of capoeira, everything has an element of rhythm and spectacle.
The nation is well known for its Carnaval, a festival marked by its parades and dancing. It’s a heritage that will make the opening ceremony a show to behold, and it also ensures that the 2016 Olympics will have Brazil’s unique cultural stamp.
That’s one of the best things about the Olympics, both in person and via television—it’s a chance to experience a new culture and become a little more complete as people.
1. A Symbol of True Olympic Globalization
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The Olympics have never been held in South America. The only time the Games were held in a Latin American country was Mexico City 1968. It’s time that part of the world had a turn.
The Olympics are truly global now, a stark contrast from the first 100 years of the modern version of the competition, when it more or less alternated between Europe and North America (usually the United States), with a couple of Asian-hosted Games thrown in.
Hopefully, this is a continuing trend—we had Beijing 2008; we will have Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018. It’s nowhere near even yet, but it’s moving in the right direction.