Olympic Update

Sailing venue cleared for action, soccer schedule looks very difficult for Brazil, and the United States determines their wrestlers

Marina da Gloria, accessible from Flamengo Park will host the sailing competition come August.  According to an April 7 on the Rio Olympics website, the waterfront park will be accessible to all people, instead of just the avid boaters.

This week, a Rio Boat Show is giving Brazilians a chance to learn all about the terminology and what will be in store for the venue as they are one of many showcases to the world.  According to many other online reports, the equivalent of special tubing will be used to block any sewage for entering the water thereby hopefully decreasing the chances of anyone catching any major disease if they enter the water either because of high winds or if a team is in celebratory mode.

The next day (April 8), FIFA released the draw for both the men’s and women’s soccer tournaments after Columbia beat the United States for the final men’s berth.

16 teams will be placed in four groups of four teams each for the men.  The top two teams in each pool will advance to the quarterfinals.

Pot 1: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Japan
Pot 2: Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Honduras, Iraq
Pot 3: Sweden, Fiji, Portugal, South Africa
Pot 4: Algeria, Colombia, Denmark, Germany

First thought–having both Brazil and Argentina in the same group is similar to having Villanova play Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament (albeit highly unlikely, but with the way the brackets were revised after 2013-2014, it could happen someday).

For the ladies, 12 teams will be pooled into four groups of three.  The top two finishers along with the top two third-place finishers will advance to the quarterfinals:

Pot 1: Brazil, USA, Germany
Pot 2: France, Australia, Sweden
Pot 3: Canada, China, New Zealand
Pot 4: Colombia, South Africa, Zimbabwe

First thought–Just like in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Team USA’s road will be filled with lots of potholes and interesting turns.

Heart filled story appropriate for 21st century (sorry to the late Jim McKay)

In 2013, Daniel Dennis was an NCAA All-American.  He did not have enough money to live in a dorm or apartment, so he lived inside a 1986 black Ford F-150 truck that he purchased for a reported $500 on Craigslist.  Scary transaction, one might think but flash forward to April 10 and the 29 year old came out of a two-year retirement to beat fellow University of Iowa teammate Tony Ramos in the 57 kg freestyle division to win the Olympic berth.  Jordan Burrows is back as well for the men, while Helen Maroulis will be heading to Brazil in representing the American women.

As for Dennis, he managed to get enough money from coaching to buy a house somewhere in Des Moines.  A updated rags to riches story if there ever was one.

Also of note, the marathon course is ready after a test run was done on Sunday going through many historical sites including the area surrounding Botafogo Beach–which the famed Christ the Redeemer statue lurks from above.  It might remind some Americans of when you drive north in Chicago along Lake Shore Drive and come close to seeing the Willis (Sears) Tower in the distance and the John Hancock Building just a few hundred yards away.

The races will begin and end at the Sambadrome, with the women’s race held seven days before the men have the honor of being the last event to be contested at the Rio Olympics.

Finally, the water polo draws have been determined:

In the men’s division it will have Serbia, Greece, Brazil, Australia, Japan and Hungary compromise Group A, while Group B will have the United States, Spain, France, Montenegro, Italy and Croatia.  Round-robin play will lead to the top four teams in each group advancing to the knockout stage in the quarterfinals.

For the women, the United States will look to defend their gold medal that they won in London 2012 as they open knockout stage play as part of Group B.

Serbia, Greece, Brazil, Australia, Japan and Hungary form Group A, while Group B consists of Spain, the USA, France, Montenegro, Italy and Croatia.  Group rankings will decide those matchups.  All games will be played at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre and the brand new Olympics Aquatics Stadium–a sparkling gem of a facility dedicated on April 8 to house the swimming events.

My next update will come in a few days detailing the key events surrounding the ancient tradition in Greece when the lighting of the torch will be taking place in the coming days.


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