The Olympic Games are almost upon us, and if you’re not totally fired up about that fact yet, here are seven reasons you should be.
1. Rio is hosting
Ok, it hasn’t been the smoothest of build-ups for the host nation, but the IOC has assured everyone that the city of Rio de Janeiro is ready to host the Olympics and welcome the world to its shores.
There are few cities more gorgeous and exotic than Rio. The huge, bustling seaside metropolis boasts an incredible atmosphere even when it’s not hosting major sporting events, so we can’t wait to see what the vibe will be like come August 5.
It promises to be quite the Carnival.
2. Usain Bolt’s finale
Six-time Olympic champion and double world record holder Usain Bolt will make his final Olympic appearance in Rio this year.
The world has watched Bolt’s legend grow over the past decade, and all eyes will be on the Jamaican to see if he can provide the perfect swansong to a brilliant Olympic career.
“The World’s Fastest Man” won’t remain the fastest forever, so the time to appreciate his talent is right now.
3. The return of Michael Phelps
Perhaps the only modern athlete that can stand toe-to-toe with Usain Bolt is swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, including a record 18 golds.
Phelps retired from swimming in 2012, but returned in 2014 with a newfound desire and passion to compete, and we can’t wait to see what the American dishes up in Rio.
Does he have more gold medals in him? Is he an athlete past his prime? These questions, and more, will soon be answered.
4. New sports on the horizon
Joining the Olympic party this year are two sports that haven’t been invited for quite some time – golf and rugby.
Golf returns after a 112-year absence, and while its inclusion has been subject to some controversy in the lead up to Rio, the contest still promises to be exciting, with recently crowned Open champion Henrik Stenson one of the favourites to take gold in the men’s event, and world No 11 Lydia Ko chasing a gold medal of her own in the women’s competition.
The return of rugby following 92 years in the Olympic wilderness also promises loads of excitement, as the thrilling sevens format takes center stage.
5. Beach volleyball
Beach volleyball remains one of the more… friendly spectator sports on the Olympic roster, and what better place to host the competition than the sunsoaked beaches of Rio.
The competition itself should prove interesting as well, as the retirement of three-time gold medallists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh has opened the door for new champions to be crowned.
6. The ceremonies
Every four years, a new host nation tries to wow the world with more spectacular and extravagant opening and closing ceremonies than the last.
If the Rio Carnival is anything to go by, Brazil should be uniquely qualified to put on one hell of a show.
We can’t wait to see what they have in store.
7. The return of the Olympic spirit
Let’s face it – there’s just something special about the Olympic Games.
It’s hard to describe and pin down, but legendary composer John Williams came pretty close with the Olympic fanfare.
Listen only if you’re ready to get really hyped for Rio.