Leap Into This Next Olympic Update

Happy Leap Day 2016!

Hope it is filled with happiness, joy, and great health.

The golf course is ready, and China continues to dominate on the diving boards.  But history was made on the 23rd with the first ever male Jamaican diver to qualify by the name of Yona Knight-Wisdom.  Will he have a story to tell similar to Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards of Great Britain that won over the world’s hearts during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and is now the subject of a movie?

Otherwise, the full torch relay was announced on February 24 in sun-splashed skies with temperatures soaring around 110 degrees.

Some of the torchbearers were announced

Among the lucky luminaries include the likes of Gustavo Borges, who won four medals in swimming between 1992 and 2000 along with retired tennis great Maria Esther Bueno.

The theme song during the relay will be A Vida do Viajante (translated meaning, “The Life of a Traveller”) by Luiz Gonzaga.

The torch relay runs from May 3 to August 5 covering around 90 percent of Brazil’s population.  329 cities and towns encompassing five regions will all get to see the torch as 12,000 torchbearers will be covering 12,427 miles (or 20,000 kms) by road and another 10,000 miles by air.

Before this all takes place, the ancient tradition of lighting the torch via the sun’s rays in Olympia, Greece will take place on April 21 followed by a short relay before the torch is passed to Rio.

According to the website rio2016.com, they pointed out several key highlights of the route during those 95 days:

  • Starting in the capital city of Brasilia, it will then head to the state of Goias (including the popular historic waterfall town called Pirenopolis.  About another 50 miles away sits Viva Propicio, a place with big caves (Gruta Azul will be a popular tourism stop).
  • Caldas Novas and Rio Quente will be next as the torchbearers will run through an area featuring the world’s largest thermal springs resort.
  • Are you a fan of fauna and flora?  Head over to the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso and their capital cities of Campo Grande and Cuiabá.  Bring along your cameras and maybe your fishing rods just in case.
  • Going further south and east is the state of Minas Gerais along with Espirito Santo (and no, it is not related to the late, great Baseball Hall of Famer in former popular 9 time National League All-Star from the Chicago Cubs Ron Santo).  Rather, get to soak up a lot of history passing through Ouro Preto and the contemporary architecture in Salvador at Bahia.
  • Continuing northeastward in Bahia, the relay will take on a path similar to 1996 when rural landscapes dotted the United States route from Nevada to Nebraska.  This time around, the torch will pass through the Lençóis Maranhenses sand dunes located in Maranhão along with the mysterious Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) in neighbouring Piauí.  Science fiction fans would love to know that their  extraordinary rock formations along with their rock art have inspired legends related to UFOs.  More beaches will then be calling with gorgeous views and more traditional rhythms and arts as the torch will then head along the coasts of Bahia, Pernambuco, Sergipe, Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte.
  • The Amazon River and a major ecological park located in Belem will be next.
  • Eventually, the torch will then turn south and east past the Centre-West region towards the popular tourist city of Sao Paolo.
  • The final days will see the torch pass through century-old coffee plantations on the outskirts of Rio.
  • The final area of interest will be the Baixada Fluminense region and then an internal relay will occur on Friday afternoon, August 5 when the torch finally arrives to the playing of the Cidade Maravilhosa, Rio’s city anthem which has been performed at city functions since 1935.
  • Finally, the NBC Sports cameras transmitting via satellite imagery to the United States and other Olympic broadcasters around the globe will view the final leg inside the legendary Maracana Stadium, with the identity of the torch lighter kept in total secret similar to the identity of an American football legend that is asked to toss the coin prior to the kickoff of that February’s Super Bowl.

 

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