Visiting Rio? Don’t forget to download our gay guide to the Rio Olympics!
The Rio 2016 Olympics start on August 5th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — but what does that really mean? We’ve compiled this quick guide that should tell you everything you need to know.
What is Rio 2016?
The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics are more than just a few sporting events. The Olympics not just includes the summer Olympic Games, but also the 2016 Summer Paralympics, featuring athletes with disabilities. There’s also a Youth Olympic Games, however on years where the main Olympics are in summer, the Youth Olympics are in Winter and vice versa. This year, the Youth Olympics are in Lillehammer, Norway, so they won’t be part of our guide.
The Summer Olympic Games will feature 306 events across 28 sports. There will be over 10,500 athletes coming to Rio from 206 different National Olympic Committees (or NOCs).
This is also the first Summer Olympics to take place entirely during the host country’s winter season. Not just that, but this is the first Olympics to take place in a Portuguese-speaking country.
Wait, 206 NOCs? Aren’t there only 196 countries?
That’s right — there are indeed more Olympic Committees than countries. There is one for every United Nations member state — there’s 193 of those. After that, we start adding territories like New Zealand’s associated state, The Cook Islands; Taiwan, whose sovereignty is disputed by China; the UN observer state Palestine.
There are also nine dependent territories with NOCs — the United States’ American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; the United Kingdom’s Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands; plus Aruba, a territory owned by the Netherlands and Hong Kong, which is officially a special administrative region of China.
This is also the first year for two new NOCs — Kosovo and South Sudan.
Where, specifically, are the Rio 2016 Olympic Games?
The Olympic Games will be held in 32 venues across Rio de Janeiro. The opening and closing ceremonies will take place in the Maracanã Stadium. The Maracanã was built in 1950 for the FIFA World Cup. It seats almost 79,000 people, making it the largest stadium in Brazil. The Maracanã will also host the soccer finals, which makes sense given its history.
Most of the events will take place in four major zones of Rio: Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana Beach, Maracanã and Deodoro. Barra da Tijuca, in addition to having the most venues will also host the Olympic Village, where the athletes are housed. This year’s village will be the largest in Olympics history.
Not all the games will take place in Rio, however — some soccer games will take place in nearby cities São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília and Manaus.
When are the Olympic Games?
The opening ceremony is on August 5th, however on August 3rd and 4th, there are two soccer event competitions — so if you’re a big soccer fan, you might want to be there a little early. The rest of the games start in earnest on Saturday, August 6th, which do include some gold medal events — archery, road cycling, fencing, judo, shooting, swimming and weightlifting will all see medals awarded on the first day.
In fact, every day after the 5th has some gold medal events, up to Sunday, August 21st, the day of the closing ceremonies.
If you weren’t able to get tickets to any of the events you wanted to see, don’t fret! The Paralympics will be starting the following month. The opening ceremony for the Paralympics will be on September 7th, and the closing ceremony will be on September 18th.
Is there anything else I should know?
Definitely — just follow the rest of our Olympic coverage here at Unicorn Booty, and we’ll make sure you’re covered!
(Featured image via the Rio 2016 Facebook Page; photo credit: Rio 2016/Fernando Soutello)