They’re baaaack! That’s right folks, opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are tonight, and you know what that means? It’s time for you to become irrationally passionate about sports and native athletes you pay zero attention to for three years and 11 months at a time - looking at you, badmitton.
Lucky for you, we did the hard work of sifting through all the events so we could find the ones we’re most excited to watch.
(I bet some of you are more excited to host a watch-party than to simply watch, right? Lucky for you, our friends over at Slice have a recipe guide - including recipes from many medal contending countries! – just for you! Do yourself a favor and check it out.)
Ready? Let’s light that torch (or some other Olympic-centric metaphor for starting):
If there is one sport that the US of A holds court (#pun) over, it’s basketball. The American team has won an incredible 15 golds and never missed the medal stand. This year’s team seems to be a lock to snag the gold again over challengers like Spain and Serbia.
The women’s team, which has won six of the last seven Olympic gold medals and is primed to hear the National Anthem played in Rio this summer, too, will have to get past Spain and Australia to do so.
The men’s tournament begins August 6. The women’s August 7.
Another sport dominated by the Americans, this gold medal looks to be in the hands of the red, white, and blue once again. Of course, they’ll have to beat France and Brazil to do so, but expect them to come home with the gold.
The men’s team? They didn’t qualify… awkward…
Watch the women on their quest to defend their gold medal starting August 3 (you don’t have a time machine? Crazy!).
There are roughly a million gymnastics events at the Summer Games, so we’re only going to focus on the big ones:
The American men don’t look to be strong enough to contend for a gold medal (Japan, Russia, and China are the favorites) but the American women are ready to defend their All-Around title from four years ago.
Watch the American women defend their title starting August 9, and watch the American men try to shock the gymnastics world starting August 8.
Again, no American men figure to be the cream of the crop here (gymnasts from Japan, China, and Cuba are expected to occupy the medal stand), but there are two American women vying for the gold: Simone Biles (watch out for her. She’s incredible.) and Laurie Hernandez, with Romania’s Angelina Melnikova rounding out the favorites.
The men’s Individual All-Around begins August 10, and the women’s August 11.
One of the marquee events of the Summer Games, swimming looks to live up to the hype again this year with one up-and-coming American (Katie Ledecky) looking for her first Olympic medal, and one looking to win his staggering 18th and 19th Olympic gold medals, and a mind-numbing 23rd and 24th overall Olympic medals (Michael Phelps. Yes, he’s still swimming).
4X100M FREESTYLE RELAY
Both the American men and women look to be medal contenders in this one, with the French and Australian men, and the Australian and Dutch women favored to medal as well.
The men’s competition starts August 7, and the women’s August 8.
4X200M FREESTYLE RELAY
Apparently American’s are really good swimmers. Who knew? Both the men and women should be in the mix for the gold, again, with the Australian and British men, and Chinese and Italian women figuring into the mix, too.
The Men’s competition begins August 9, and the women’s begins August 10.
4X100M MEDLEY RELAY
This is definitely one of the most exciting swimming events at the Olympics and the American men, along with Australia and China, will be vying for a medal, as will the American women, the Australian women, and Chinese women.
Both competitions begin August 13.
MEN’S 100M BUTTERFLY
This is Michael Phelp’s signature discipline and he looks primed to four-peat as Olympic champion on August 12.
WOMEN’S 200M/400M/800M FREESTYLE
This is where Katie Ledecky figures to make her big splash (#anotherpun #doublepun) as she is favored to win all three of these events and assert herself as the next great American swimmer.
Watch her quest for Olympic gold starting August 7 with the 400m Freestyle.
TRACK & FIELD
Like gymnastics, there are an untold number of Track events at the Olympics. We’re going to focus on three: the 100m Sprint (men’s and women’s), and the men’s Decathlon:
Like Olympics past, Usain Bolt comes in as the heavy favorite, but Americans Justin Gatlin and Trayvon Bromell will be giving it their all to grab the gold. The women’s sprint sets up about the same with a Jamaican, Elaine Thompson, and two Americans, Tori Bowie and English Gardner, favored to medal.
Watch the women on August 13, and the men August 14.
The granddaddy of them all (at least in Track & Field), this event combines 10 disciplines into a grueling two-day competition. The winner has been traditionally called the “World’s Greatest Athlete” and American Ashton Eaton looks to retain that title, which he won in 2012.
Watch him on his quest to become only the third repeat gold medalist in the Decathlon in modern Olympic history, starting August 17.