The 2016 Rio Olympic Games will begin at Brazil's iconic Maracana Stadium with the opening ceremony on Friday, August 5, and wrap up on Sunday, August 21. In between, the games will begin with an early program headlined by cycling and shooting.
Football events will actually begin two days prior to the opening ceremony, with the women participating first. Overall, football will feature in "five co-host cities, as well as Rio," according to the official site.
Before a closer look at a few key events, here are some of the significant dates.
Date: Friday, August 5
Time: 8 p.m. local time. 12 a.m. GMT (Saturday, August 6).
Date: Sunday, August 21
Time: 7:15 p.m. local time. 11:15 p.m. GMT.
|Rio 2016 Olympic Games: Full Schedule of Medal Events|
|Artistic Gymnastics||August 6-16|
|Beach Volleyball||August 6-18|
|Canoe Slalom||August 7-11|
|Canoe Sprint||August 15-20|
|Cycling BMX||August 17-19|
|Cycling Mountain Bike||August 20-21|
|Cycling Road||August 6-10|
|Cycling Track||August 11-16|
|Field Hockey||August 6-19|
|Marathon Swimming||August 15-16|
|Modern Pentathlon||August 18-20|
|Rhythmic Gymnastics||August 19-21|
|Rugby Sevens||August 6-11|
|Synchronised Swimming||August 14-19|
|Table Tennis||August 6-17|
|Trampoline Gymnastics||August 12-13|
|Water Polo||August 6-20|
The men's football events will draw the crowds when matches officially kick off on Thursday, August 4, per FIFA.com. Hosts Brazil look strong among the medal hopefuls, thanks to an array of attacking talent led by Barcelona's Neymar.
He's set to be joined by precocious forwards Gabriel Barbosa and 19-year-old Gabriel Jesus, per the squad lists detailed by ESPN FC. The latter has been linked with a move to Manchester City this summer, according to Samuel Stevens of The Independent, and is one of his country's brightest young talents.
With Neymar and Co. up front and Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos bossing things at the back, Brazil will take some beating on home soil.
Perhaps the biggest threat to their chances of gold will come from Germany. It's a squad littered with terrific talent, particularly in midfield where there's a solid blend of strength and skill.
Lars and Sven Bender provide the former quality, while Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry and Schalke 04 wonderkid Maximilian Meyer offer creativity and technical excellence in the final third.
Rather like the senior international side, though, where this squad looks weak is at striker. Yet, there's still enough talent everywhere else to see Germany awarded gold or silver once the medals are handed out.
This is the first year professionals will be allowed to compete in the boxing event, which puts a whole different complexion on the medal picture. There's also a professional points system to factor in, one where a fighter must be rewarded 10 points to claim a round.
One clear favourite in the medals sweepstakes is American bantamweight Shakur Stevenson. The 19-year-old dominated at both the junior and youth world championships in 2013 and 2014, as well as at the Youth Olympic Games in China, per Shawn Smith of NBC New York.
As Smith noted, Stevenson has twice seen off Great Britain's Muhammad Ali, so he's a strong bet for gold in Rio.
Further up the weight class, Frenchman Tony Yoka should boss the super-heavyweight division. A 230-pounder, Yoka is described by Sports Illustrated's Richard O'Brien as being "fast of hand and foot and moves in the ring more like a light heavyweight."
As O'Brien also pointed out, this devastating combination of speed and brawn took Yoka to a gold medal at the world championships. Expect a repeat performance in Brazil.
One of the more controversial events could be judo, after the sport's international governing body granted team Russia permission to compete, per Sky Sports News HQ:
Still, Russia's judokas will find it difficult to overcome Japan's Shohei Ono, who has been named the "absolute favourite for the Olympic title" in the men's U73kg event by JudoInside.com.
He's a double world champion, but the presence of the current world No. 1, Korean An Chang-Rim, will make this one of the more intriguing and intense events at these Games.
If a surprise is likely there, no such shocks seem in store in the tennis competitions, where both Serena Williams and Andy Murray should claim gold in their respective events.
The Wimbledon winners look too accomplished for the weakened fields they are likely to face in Rio. Murray in particular will fancy his chances now that Roger Federer is set to miss the Games as he recovers from a knee injury, per BBC Sport.
Another of Team GB's best hopes for gold will surely be Chris Froome. This year's Tour de France victor is a strong contender to take gold in the cycling road race.
Bradley Wiggins has tipped Froome to do just that, according to Daniel Benson of Cycling News. Froome is part of a strong Team GB contingent also featuring Geraint Thomas, so the Team Sky man should justify the hype.