After months of waiting, the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics kicked off with a breezy—though somewhat whitewashed—Opening Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 5.
Even as these Olympics seem positioned to be the “worst ever,” they’re also positioned to be some of the biggest, most impressive yet.
In the face of civil unrest, an unfinished Olympic Village, an imminent Zika outbreak, a major doping scandal, environmental hazards, dozens of drop-outs, and a “soft coup,” thousands of athletes will still be bringing their A game to Rio.
Team USA is debuting new and rising stars, including Kanak Jha, the first Olympian to be born after 2000, along with familiar faces returning for the chance to win Olympic gold.
How to Live Stream the Olympics:
NBCUniversal’s networks and digital platforms will be showing nearly 7,000 hours of programing over 19 days during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will also live stream coverage of the Games for paid TV subscribers via TV Everywhere. You can download the NBC Sports app to your Android TV, Apple TV, Xbox or Roku or use the iOS, Android, or Windows Phone apps.
You can also view live stream Olympic matches from NBC here.
Additionally, you can catch up on four years of world championships, World Cup matches, and international competitions by Team USA at NBC Olympics and look forward to upcoming competitions with the official Rio 2016 Olympic schedule from NBC.
Some highlights from the XXXI (31st) Olympiad:
Michael Phelps will be returning for his fifth and likely final Olympics after a difficult few years filled with DUIs and doubts about his future in swimming. Newcomers like gymnast Simone Biles and record-breaking swimmer Katie Ledecky are also poised to win big in Rio.
As the youngest competitor on the USA swimming team, Ledecky is raising the bar for swimmers—especially female swimmers. Last year, at the 2015 World Championships in Russia, she became the first-ever swimmer to sweep the 200m, 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle in international competition—all races in the freestyle category. That feat is now called the “Ledecky Slam.”
Biles is another up-and-comer to the U.S. National Team, but a veteran to the gymnastics world. Already the most decorated female gymnast in history, Biles will very likely supersede the success achieved by her teammate, Gabby Douglas, in the 2012 London Olympics.
Another major test for Team USA will be Justin Gatlin’s race against “the world’s fastest man,” Usain Bolt. After serving his four years of probation for using performance-enhancing substances, Gatlin will be Bolt’s biggest challenge and may be the only one who can challenge his title—and world records.
The U.S. Women’s Soccer team will also be in attendance to defend their 2014 World Cup title and their 2012 Olympic gold, and track and field star Ashton Eaton and his wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton (who is competing for Canada) have the chance to become the first married couple in Olympic history to win gold medals for different countries at the same Games.
In addition to being a big year for Americans, other athletic delegates are likely to make Olympic history. Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior will lead the Brazilian Men’s Soccer team as they attempt to win their first ever Olympic gold medal. Great Britain’s Chris Froome, who won the Tour de France this year (as well as in 2013 and 2015) is positioned to become the first cyclist in history to achieve the cycling “trifecta”: winning the the Tour de France, the Olympic road race, and the Olympic time trial in the same year.