Olympic Games Preview

Jake Schindler, Sports Section Editor

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The 2016 Summer Olympic Games kick off in Rio de Janeiro on August 5th, and these games in particular have fans from all over the world excited. Whether it is the possible repeat of the USA women’s soccer team, Usain Bolt’s blistering speed, the seemingly unstoppable USA men’s basketball team, the always interesting swimming competitions, new world records, or even just the opening ceremony, fans all over are excited for the Olympics.

The USA women’s soccer team is looking for a three-peat. They won the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and the World Cup in 2015, and now have their eyes set on one thing; a gold medal in Rio. The women’s soccer team is one of the most followed, watched and criticized teams in the Olympics, and they will be watched even closer now that they are fighting for a third straight major title. Teams will have had time to prepare for them, and in the game of soccer, one goal can be all you need to win. As always, the USA women’s soccer team will be a contender for the gold, but many teams want revenge against them, especially the Japanese team. The USA defeated Japan in the 2012 Olympic final, 2-1, and then beat them 5-2 in the 2015 World Cup final. This is one of the best rivalries coming into the games this summer, and will be one that you will want to watch.

Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive, and possibly the fastest man to ever live. He is the fastest man ever timed, running the 100 meter in 9.59 seconds and the 200 meter in 19.19 seconds, both world records. This year, however, he is focusing on two things; winning more gold medals and beating his own records. His main focus is the 200 meter. In an interview recently, Bolt said “My focus is breaking the 19 second mark. I believe I can do it.” Bolt last set the record in 2009, in the Beijing Championships (not the 2008 Beijing Olympics). Bolt is also looking for his third “hat trick” in a row. A “hat trick” for a sprinter is winning gold for the 100 meter, 200 meter and 4×100 meter relay in one year. He has done this two times in a row, in 2008 and in 2012. The 2016 Olympics would give him a chance for his third straight hat trick. Bolt is definitely someone to watch during the Olympics this year.

The USA men’s basketball team is the best in the competition by a landslide. They have not lost an Olympic game since 2004 in Athens, and have a 16 game Olympic winning streak. Over the past two competitions (‘08 and ‘12) they average a point differential of 30, meaning that they beat the opposing team by an average of 30 points each game. In 2012 they beat the Nigerian team 156-73, the largest margin of victory in Olympic history (+83). To put this into perspective, the ‘15-’16 Golden State Warriors passed the ‘95-’96 Chicago Bulls for the most wins in an NBA season. The Warriors, led by electric guard Steph Curry, outscored their opponents by an average of 10.8 points per game. That number pales in comparison to the US team’s number of 30, showing how dominant the USA men’s basketball team really is. Unless there is one of the biggest upsets of all time, it looks like the USA men’s basketball team will be taking home yet another gold medal. But hey, there have been pretty big upsets in Olympic history before (See “The Miracle on Ice”).

In conclusion, the Olympic Games are one of the most anticipated sporting events in the world, and this year will not disappoint. It is great for first time sports fans, since you can tune in for an hour or two to watch some soccer, for just a few minutes to watch a swimming competition, or for approximately 19 seconds to see Usain Bolt take down another world record. You don’t even need to like sports to watch the Olympics; you just need to have some American pride.

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