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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

THE RIO OLYMPICS HAVE BEGUN!

You thought the Opening Ceremonies on Friday opened the Rio Summer Olympics?  Nope, a women's soccer game between Sweden and South Africa has already kicked off the games.  At 6PM tonight (12 noon Hawaii time), the USA plays New Zealand.  The American women are the favorite to win the Gold.  Men's play begins tomorrow, and the USA team is not here.  Why?  Zika?  No, they did not qualify.

10,500 athletes from 206 countries are competing for 971 medals over 20 days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the first Summer Olympics ever held in South America.


Some highlights:
  • Will the government of Brazil crash during the Olympics?  Impeachment, corruption, Interim President Michel Temer (right), recession, 11% inflation, 9% unemployment....
  • The Russians are mostly not here because of government sanctioned doping.  
  • The USA is favored to win the most medals, both men and women.  
    • China will be #2, and dominate in diving, men's gymnastics, table tennis and badminton.
    • The U.S. will be challenged by the Aussies in the pool.
    • Korean archers and British cyclists will gain fame.
    • Watch the men's rugby team, where last month this blog featured American Carlin Isles.  (note the size of the ball)
  • Only 137 of 306 events are for the female gender.  
  • The most favorite team for Gold?  
    • Amazingly enough, not the USA basketball team, but women's 8 rowing (above, the eight plus coxswain)  They have not lost in a decade.  
    • However, it is reported that U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky (right), who has the 11 fastest time in the 800 meter freestyle, has a 100% chance to win the gold.    
    • Michael Phelps, who will carry the U.S. flag, is in his 5th Olympics and only has a 40% chance to defend his 200 meter butterfly race.  Don't be surprised if Laszlo Cseh of Hungary or Chad le Clos of South Africa wins.  
Here are some fun facts provided by NBC, which will exclusively carry the games:
  • Rio beat Chicago to host in 2016.
  • The opening and closing ceremonies will be held in Maracana Stadium, which holds the world's record for most fans at a soccer game:  173,000.
  • Beach volleyball will be held at Copacabana, which is not, officially, a topless beach.
  • The USA is the defending champ in rugby.  But that was in 1924 with 15 players/team.  This year it will be 7 per team, and both the U.S. women and men could gain medals.
  • Golf will be back...after 112 years, 1904 St. Louis, in partnership with their World's Fair.  The course was just built, for $27 million, on an Environmentally Protected Area, Marapendi Natural Municipal Park.  How they got the proper approvals and actually finished the effort was a major miracle.  Apparently Zika has scared off most of the top world golfers.
  • To compete in these Olympics, you must have been born before 1 January 2003.
  • Five to 10 performers will compete under the Olympic flag as refugees.
  • The mascots are Vinicius (she is part cat, part monkey) and Paul (he for the Paralympic Game).
  • The cheapest of 7.5 million tickets cost $40, going up to $3000.
  • There are 70,000 volunteers, mostly from Brazil.
  • 85,000 security people will be deployed, double that of London 2012.
Want to track the odds?  Here is a site.  The USA has a 1/5 chance of winning the most medals.  What does this mean?  Divide 5 by (5+1) to give you 5 divided by 6 or 0.833 or 83.3% chance of winning the most medals.  Interestingly enough, Hillary Clinton has a 1/3 chance of becoming the next president, or 75%.  Trump?  9/4 = 31%.  Jill Stein = 0.25%.

How best to watch the Rio Olympics?  There are numerous confusing opportunities.  Here is the NBC web page schedule.  Channels?
  • NBC
  • NBC stream
  • USA (owned by NBC)
  • MSNBC
  • CNBC
  • Bravo
  • GOLF Channel
  • Telemundo
  • NBC Universo
  • Soccer Channel
  • Channels 1472 and 1473:  special High Definition links in Honolulu.  THIS might be a useful  site if you're in Hawaii.
Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics.


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Tropical Storm Earl is just about now a hurricane at 70 MPH and will crash into the Belize today:



In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Ivette will soon become a hurricane and head for Hawaii:



However, all models show an eventual weakening before approaching the Big Island.

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