2016 Olympic Games

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Rio Olympic Games

The 2016 Olympic Games officially start in Rio on Friday August 5th with the opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium.

Athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team are in Brazil to compete in 28 sports and be watched by a global audience of billions.

The months leading up to the games have been surrounded by controversy. Russia’s team involvement in a doping scandal, the Rio infrastructure, security and health hazards, and the presence of the Zika virus. Have all been the top stories in the news related to the Olympic games.

Tonight, with the opening ceremony poised to kick off the excitement, it is time for the sporting action to take center stage.

These are the Games of the 31st Olympiad but are the 28th to be held as those in 1916, 1940 and 1944 did not take place because of war.

When does it start?

The Games – held in South America for the first time – officially take place between August 5 – 21, but they have actually already started.

The opening ceremony is at 7:00pm CST on Friday night but the action kicked off two days ago with the women’s football.

An estimated three billion people will watch the ceremony which has taken five years to produce and includes 300 dancers, 5,000 volunteers and 12,000 costumes.

Who is competing?

There will be 10,500 athletes from a record 207 teams competing in Rio, including the Refugee Olympic Team, while it will be the first time Kosovo and South Sudan have taken part in the Games.

The Refugee Olympic Team will compete under the Olympic flag in swimming, judo and athletics and has 10 members – five from South Sudan, two from Syria, two from DR Congo and one from Ethiopia.

“These refugee athletes have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem,” said IOC president Thomas Bach.

“The invention of this refugee team is to give them a home in the Olympic village together with all the athletes around the world.”

With 554 athletes, the United States has the largest Olympic team.

The Rio Games will be the first to feature Olympians born since the year 2000 – and the youngest competitor is 13-year-old Nepalese swimmer Gaurika Singh.

Rio marks the return of golf and rugby to the Olympics.

Golf is returning after a 112-year absence.

Rugby sevens will be making its debut at the Olympics, although rugby union featured regularly at the Games until 1924.

olympic games - rings

Schedule

NBC has announced it will broadcast the opening ceremony on a one-hour delay in the Eastern time zone (two hours for Central Time, four hours for Pacific Time) in order to “curate” the coverage. The live stream will also be delayed.

When: Friday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT

Where: Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

TV: NBC

Stream: NBCOlympics.com