#RoadtoRio

Zack Hall, Staff Writer

It happens once every four years. It’s one of the most contentious events in world news, exciting people all over. But in the end, only one will win. No, I’m not talking about the presidential election, I’m talking about the Olympics.

This summer, the Olympic torch will travel from Brasilia, visiting every major city in Brazil, to Rio de Janeiro just in time to kick off the opening ceremonies on August 5, 2016. Thousands of athletes from 145 countries will compete in 28 different sports, 41 disciplines, and 306 events. All eyes currently look to Team USA to continue their record from London 2012 and take first in these games as well.

An often overlooked sport, the USA water polo team has had a solid year and is looking forward to playing in the Olympics this summer. According to the article ‘All Gold Everything’ in Skip Shot, the USA Water Polo magazine, both teams, men’s and women’s, emerged dominant in the world during the summer of 2015. At the 2015 Pan American games in Toronto, Canada, the USA men’s team scored an important win against Canada 9-8 in the semifinals. They then went on to defeat Brazil for the gold, 11-9, in order to qualify for Rio in 2016. The women’s team defeated both Canada and Brazil by almost ten points to take the games as well. Then it was off to the FINA World Championships, where the women’s team took the world championship for the first time since 2009. Both teams look toward Rio, using the hashtag #RoadtoRio to show their excitement for the Olympics.

Remember Usain Bolt, the Jamaican runner who set the world record for the 100m dash with a record time of 9.58 seconds and a record speed of 23.35 miles per hour? He has a challenger at Rio–the American Justin Gatlin. Returning from a four-year ban due to doping concerns, Gatlin beat Bolt at the Golden Gala meet in Rome, and recently lost to him by 0.01 seconds in 2015.

Another overlooked sport, gymnastics, also has a dominant athlete. The 18 year-old Simone Biles has been stunning the world stage in gymnastics since she started competing on an international level in 2013. According to an article on Team USA’s website, she has taken gold in the all-around competition at the World Championships three times since then, in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Last year, she was named as the Team USA Female Olympic Athlete of the Year and looks strong for the Olympics in Rio 2016.

Some of the most recognizable athletes on Team USA, of course, are on the USA Swim Team. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are both recognizable names as American athletes. Michael Phelps, after several years and several Olympics, is looking to repeat his performance from Beijing in 2008. Though there was some controversy due to a drunk driving incident in August of 2014, he is still able to compete in Rio. But his rival, Ryan Lochte, seems dominant. These two have been going head-to-head, with Ryan Lochte winning in London, but Michael Phelps hopes to take back his title of world champion at Rio.

All of these American athletes look very dominant in their fields, and Rio looks like it should be an exciting Olympics for everyone involved.