We are just a few days away from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, my personal favorite time of the year. The Let Me B-Frank Blog and Podcast will have plenty of coverage throughout the games, but here is a primer and recap of the Rio and London Games.
Four short years ago, the World turned its attention to London. It was an absolutely amazing spectacle that London put on and it will be a tough act for Rio to follow. The United States dominated the Games bringing home 103 total medals, 15 more than runner-up, China. In order, the final standings were USA 46-28-29, China 38-29-21, Great Britain 29-17-19. The London games were about redemption and a farewell, or so we thought…Redemption for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team coming off the devastating World Cup loss to Japan and a farewell to the Greatest Olympian of All-Time, Michael Phelps. Both the USWNT and Phelps did not disappoint, as both won gold, Phelps doing so in his final race, the 4×100 medley relay, an event the US Men have never lost. We thought that was it, that the greatest Olympian was about to ride off into the sunset with his head help high and a bevy of gold medals to his name, not so fast. Phelps is back and in his 5th and final (so he says) Olympics.
Now, four years later, we turn to Rio. A city that has been highlighted rather frequently with stories of civil unrest, horrendous violence and Zika. Make no mistake, Rio is one of the World’s most breath-taking places but it is incredibly difficult to overlook some of the stories that have been coming out of Brazil. Now we can discuss whether or not this was a good idea and if another Olympic Games should be held in a country comparable to Brazil, but like it or not it is happening. Just a short time ago, Brazil did a fantastic job with the World Cup and there is no reason to believe that they can’t get their shit together in time to make the Olympics just as great. Coming into the Games there are some major story lines. As I alluded to above, Michael Phelps is back in his 5th and final Olympics. A plethora of the World’s top athletes are forgoing the Olympics with fears of the Zika Virus. Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman become the first American gymnasts to reach back-to-back Olympics since 2000. The USWNT looks to defend their World Cup and Olympic Gold. Usain Bolt out of the 100m sprint with an injury before Trials took place in Jamaica. So there are plenty of big story-lines coming into Rio, these are just a few that I wanted to mention but I am going to highlight some events that I think will be the most entertaining and intriguing.
Women’s Gymnastics Team All-Around
This one is the United States to lose, they come in as the heavy favorites and reigning Olympic Champions.This team has so much depth and talent that even if an alternate had to step in the needle wouldn’t move on their potential. The team, as they are often dubbed, the “Fab Five” is highlighted by two absolute stars in Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez. I’ll start with Biles first, 3-time reigning World Champ (first woman ever to accomplish this) and 4-time National Champ (first American woman to do it in 42 years) she absolutely ran away with the Olympic Trials in San Jose and will be looking to bring home FIVE gold medals (Team, All-Around, Balance Beam, Floor, Vault). Hernandez finished 2nd in Trials and will be a tough competitor for the individual All-Around gold. Hernandez thrives on the balance beam, she won the Trials and was absolutely explosive in her routine. These two headline a team that has the defending individual all-around Olympic Champion, Gabby Douglas. Douglas is the first defending champion to return to the next Games since legend Nadia Comaneci did so in 1980. Douglas has dealt with some injuries and took a few years off, but she is a big-time gamer. When it comes down to it and the bright lights are on, she competes and I expect her to be in the thick of things in the individual all-around competition. Also returning to the team from the London group is Aly Raisman. Raisman brings shear power to the team with an electric floor routine and consistent and improved beam. Raisman is expected to be named captain as she has seniority on the team at 22 years old. Last, we have Madison Kocian, she is here after a fantastic Trials on the Uneven Bars, easily the weakest event for this American team, and will be relied upon heavily to make the team competitive in that event. All-in-all there is no reason not to expect a team gold, and individual golds for at least 4 of the 5 ladies, anything less than that would be disappointing and frankly surprising. This team has so much talent and is so incredibly balanced (outside of uneven bars) that the rest of the World is playing for 2nd or 3rd.
That’s right, Golf is an official Olympics sport for the first time since the 1904 St. Louis Games, which we all fondly remember…The sport is back and without the 4 top players in the World. Rory McIlroy, the 4th ranked golfer in the World has been vocal against the inclusion of the sport claiming he will watch all the sports that “actually matter”. Harsh words or showing allegiance to the PGA? Regardless, it is not a good look for Golf looking to gain a foothold back in the Olympics. But what is a good look is these fresh fucking shoes that Bubba Watson will rock in the upcoming Games. Love him, hate him, whatever your opinion is of the guy you cannot fault him for rocking these amazing, patriotic beauties. He has to have at least a few stroke advantage already so let’s see Bubba take it home for the good ol’ U-S-of-A. The Olympics will work the same as a major, 72 holes will be played over 3.5-4 days and if there are any ties in the medal positions, a three hole playoff will occur to determine the winner.
Arguably the most open the Men’s Basketball field has ever been, so many major stars sitting out of the tournament. The US drew a favorable group avoiding Spain and Argentina while grabbing Australia, Venezuela and China (they kicked the shit out of them in tune up games). In true Olympic fashion there is a group stage followed by a knock-out phase which 8 of the 12 teams qualify for. The US should be matching up with Brazil, Croatia or Lithuania whoever can take that last spot in Group B and then will most likely have the French in the Semis. It is a fairly easy road to the Gold Medal game, but that will be an incredibly tough matchup whether it is Argentina or Spain those are the only two teams I could see possibly taking down the Americans. France will give them a good game but the depth of Team USA is way too much and if the going gets tough they still have Draymond Green out there to punch someone in the balls to swing momentum, they are in Brazil and I’m pretty sure they play no blood no foul down there. The bad news is the US doesn’t get to play Nigeria, the team they beat by 100 points in London in a game that should have been called at halftime. Prediction: US, Spain, France.