Buzz surrounding the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics is starting to heat up. No matter who you are or where you live, the magic of the Olympics touches everyone. For most athletes, the Olympics represent a lifetime spent in training sessions and time away from their families, all in the hopes of winning the ultimate prize – Olympic Gold. For host countries, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to share their culture, their city and their country to the world. Brazil will be the first South American country to host the Olympics starting August 5th and continuing until August 21st.
Normally, I would be counting down the days until the opening ceremony. But this year, I am trying to figure out if the games will even take place. Headlines are constantly highlighting the many problems Rio is facing with the impending Olympics. Let’s start with the fact that Rio removed more than 4,000 families from their homes. Some families stayed until the bulldozers were right outside their front doors. Then there is the problem with the Zika virus. If you haven’t heard yet, the Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes. For most healthy individuals, symptoms are mild. But, the virus can cause birth defects in developing fetuses. From dangerously polluted waters to inadequate and unfinished housing, Rio can not catch a break from the news feeds.
Aside from these issues, I’m looking for the silver lining. To rediscover the magic of watching athletes surpass the limits their own minds have set. I have my favorites: gymnastics, swimming and beach volleyball. This year I will also tune into the triathlon competition to root on Gwen Jorgensen as she attempts to hold on to her world title with a gold medal! From archery to soccer to synchronized swimming, there is a sport for everyone to watch. And, I’m hoping that the anticipation, the competition and the excitement for rooting for your team will not be lost this year.
- There are a total of 206 countries sending approximately 10, 500 athletes to compete.
- About 306 medals will be awarded to 136 women, 161 men and 9 mixed teams.
- Golf will return to the Olympics after 112 years!
- Rugby Sevens (a version of Rugby involving only 7 players) will make its debut.
- The first refugee team will compete in this year’s games!
How to Involve the Kids
Learn about the Olympic Mascots:: Brazil chose TWO mascots to represent the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics: Vinicius and Tom. Vinicius is a mixture of the Brazilian animals and Tom is a fusion of plants found in the Brazilian forests. You can head over to the Rio 2016 Mascots Home Page with your kids to learn more about the mascots and find activities such as making masks and coloring pages.
Recreate the Olympic Flag:: The five rings represent the five continents, while the interlaced rings represent the universality of Olympism and meeting of the athletes (according to www.olympic.org). My search across Pinterest for ideas on how to recreate the Olympic flag yielded several dozen ideas. A few of my favorite include: tissue paper Olympic flag from Mess for Less, Olympic ring cookies from Moonfrye, cup stamps from Apples and ABC’s, and pipe cleaner rings for the little ones from Mamaguru.
Want more ideas? Check out I can teach my child for a collection of more crafts, games and reading activities!
Residents of the USA can watch hours and hours of the Olympics on NBC. The opening ceremony starts about 8 p.m. on Friday, August 5th. Honestly, this is one of my favorite events to watch during the Olympics. But, with all of the problems Rio has been facing in the past few weeks, I’m not sure if it is going to be a spectacular showing or a disastrous spectacle. The Rio 2016 has a great infographic letting you know what days you can see medal events. But you will want to head over to NBC to check out exact times for specific events.
There you go! And, if all of that didn’t get you excited…