As the Rio Olympics 2016 explodes into action, don’t miss a moment with our ultimate A-Z guide to the biggest events of the first week…
As the Rio Olympics explodes into action, don’t miss a moment with our ultimate A-Z guide to the biggest events of the first week…
Olympics 2016 – From Saturday on BBC1 HD & BBC4 HD & Red Button
A is for NICOLA ADAMS
The flyweight became the first woman ever to win gold in Olympic boxing when the sport was opened up to female fighters at London 2012. The Leeds-based star, 33, is the reigning Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion, and her winning streak looks set to continue in Rio. She is one of two women named in Team GB’s 12-strong squad, with British men qualifying in all 10 weight divisions.
WHEN TO SEE HER Women’s boxing starts on Friday; the women’s flyweight final is on 20 August.
B is for BEACH VOLLEYBALL
Get ready for sun, sand and samba. A hit at London 2012, this year’s contest will be held on Copacabana Beach (where else?) where a 12,000-seat stadium has been built. Sadly, there are no Brits to cheer on; Brazil, Italy and the USA all have strong teams
WHEN TO SEE IT Starts on Saturday; the women’s final is on 17 August; the men’s final is on 18 August.
C is for CYCLING
From Chris Froome and Lizzie Armitstead in the road races to Laura Trott, Mark Cavendish and Jason Kenny on the track, Team GB has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to cycling. After his victory in the 2012 time trial, 36-year-old Bradley Wiggins switches to the velodrome in the men’s team pursuit, knowing that one more medal will take him past Chris Hoy, with whom he currently shares the UK record of seven Olympic medals.
Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton tells TV&Satellite Week: “Having Bradley back is awesome. I have known him a long time and I am a huge fan. He is an enigma, a maverick, everything you would wish for in a sports person and also a thoroughly nice family guy. It blows me away how much talent is crammed into that tall, lean body.”
WHEN TO SEE IT Men’s road race is on Saturday; women’s road race is on Sunday. Track cycling starts on Thursday; the men’s team pursuit final is on Friday.
D is for DIVING
The poster boy for British diving, Tom Daley, will be competing at his third Olympics, having made his debut at the age of 14 at the 2008 Games in Beijing. The Plymouth star has two chances of a medal in Rio, beginning with the 10m platform synchro alongside Dan Goodfellow. Look out too for Jack Laugher and Chris Mears in the 3m springboard synchro after the duo won European gold in May.
WHEN TO SEE IT Starts on Sunday; the men’s 10m platform synchro final is on Monday; the men’s 3m springboard synchro final is on Wednesday.
E is for JESSICA ENNIS-HILL
After that unforgettable Super Saturday in London, Team GB golden girl Jessica Ennis-Hill, now aged 30, is back to defend her Olympic crown, having since added the 2015 World title to her list of achievements. In a battle of the hyphenated surnames, her biggest rivals looks set to be Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton and British team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
WHEN TO SEE HER Heptathlon starts on Friday with the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m. It finishes on 13 August with the long jump, javelin and 800m.
F is for DAVID FLORENCE
Having had to settle for silver in both Beijing and London, this could be the Scottish slalom canoeist’s final chance to become an Olympic champion. He goes in the singles and the doubles with partner Richard Hounslow.
WHEN TO SEE HIM Canoeing starts on Sunday; men’s slalom canoe single final is on Tuesday; men’s slalom canoe double final is on Thursday.
G is for GYMNASTICS
Team GB has never won Olympic gold in gymnastics, but a strong squad including Louis Smith and Max Whitlock (see W is for Whitlock) could change that. However, the star of the show looks set to be Simone Biles, the pint-sized American who is three-time reigning individual all-round World champion and reigning World champion in the floor exercise and balance beam.
WHEN TO SEE IT Starts on Saturday.
H is for HELEN & HEATHER
Team GB topped the rowing medal table in 2012, and Helen Glover and Heather Stanning lead another talented British squad in Rio. Competing in the women’s pair, the duo have not lost a race in more than four years – though their partnership was briefly broken up in 2013 as Stanning completed a six-month tour of Afghanistan – and are reigning Olympic, World and European champions. The only crew that looks able to rattle the British is the young New Zealand line up of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast, who came second in the Worlds.
WHEN TO SEE THEM Rowing starts on Saturday; women’s pair final is on Friday.
I is for ICON
The most decorated Olympian is history is US swimmer Michael Phelps. The legendary 18-time gold medallist (he has 22 medals in total) retired after London 2012 before returning to the pool in 2014, and is now the first American male swimmer to make five Olympic Games.
WHEN TO SEE HIM Phelps will swim in several events, including the men’s 200m butterfly on Tuesday.
J is for JUDO
Team GB’s judokas picked up two medals in London, and this time Commonwealth champion Natalie Powell is our best chance for success in Rio in the women’s 78kg. Powell is the only member of the British team to be seeded, and the first Welsh female judoka to compete in the Olympics.
WHEN TO SEE IT Starts on Saturday; women’s 78kg final is on Thursday.
K is for KIT
After creating Team GB’s London 2012 wear, designer Stella McCartney has joined with Adidas to create the 2016 kit. The outfits have been designed with Rio’s heat and humidity in mind and are on average 10 per cent lighter than the 2012 kit, hopefully to allow the athletes to go faster than ever before.
L is for LIVE COVERAGE
There will be more than 3,000 hours of Olympics live coverage across all BBC platforms, including 550 hours of coverage on BBC1 and BBC4 plus extensive red button. The four-hour time difference between Rio and the UK means live action will start at 12noon BST and run until 4am every day, with BBC Breakfast showing extensive highlights of the previous night’s action from 6am. Clare Balding, Hazel Irvine and Gabby Logan are among the presenters with experts including Olympic legends Steve Redgrave and Michael Johnson.
M is for ANDY MURRAY
Team GB have won more Olympic tennis medals than any other nation, and the Wimbledon champion will want to add to that tally. He joins his brother Jamie, Johanna Konta and Heather Watson in a seven-strong team.
WHEN TO SEE HIM Tennis starts on Saturday; men’s doubles final is on Friday; men’s singles final is on 14 August.
N is for NEW SPORTS
Rugby Sevens makes its Olympic debut for both sexes this year with most eyes on men’s favourites Fiji as the Pacific Islanders seek their country’s first-ever Olympic medal. Meanwhile, golf is back for the first time since 1904 with Team GB men Justin Rose and Masters champion Danny Willett, and women Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew braving the Reserva de Marapendi course.
WHEN TO SEE THEM Women’s rugby sevens starts on Saturday; final on Monday; men’s rugby sevens starts on Tuesday; final on Thursday. Men’s golf runs from Thursday to 14 August; women’s golf runs from 17-20 August.
O is for OLDEST
In a sport dominated by teen prodigies, spare a thought for Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina who will appear in her seventh Olympics at the age 41 – making her the oldest Olympic female gymnast in history.
WHEN TO SEE HER Women’s gymnastics starts on Sunday.
P is for ADAM PEATY
After the disappointment of London 2012 when Team GB won one silver and two bronze medals, British swimming has rebounded strongly with a record medal haul at the 2015 World Championships. Among our best chances of gold is 100m breaststroke World champion Adam Peaty who’ll be up against Team GB rival Ross Murdoch. We asked 21-year-old Peaty about his chances…
You are making your Olympic debut in Rio. How does it feel? “I remember London 2012 when I was 17. One night I was about to go out and get drunk in a field or something stupid like that, when I suddenly thought, ‘What am I doing with my life?’ From then on, I watched all the Olympics and said to myself that I would make the next one. That was my defining moment, to stop messing about and get my head down.”
Do you feel under pressure to bring back gold from Rio? “Pressure doesn’t exist. It’s an artificial thing – it’s a cloud that some people choose to carry and some choose to shove away. I choose to shove it away. It’s something I have never really understood. I have never really felt pressure.”
What are your ambitions in the pool? “I’d like to be one of the fastest in the world ever. That’s where my motivation comes from every day. I always wanted that world record and, thankfully, I have it now. It’s nowhere near my best, though. Nowhere near.”
WHEN TO SEE HIM Men’s 100m breaststroke final is on Sunday.
Q is for QUICKEST
The fastest object at the Rio Olympics won’t be Usain Bolt, but a badminton shuttlecock, which has been clocked at more than 200mph in competition. The sport is dominated by the Chinese, while Team GB’s world number seven pairing Chris and Gabby Adcock are our best chances of success in the mixed doubles.
WHEN TO SEE IT Badminton starts on Thursday.
R is for REFUGEES
A team of refugees will compete at this year’s Olympics for the first time in the history of the Games. Ten athletes have been selected for the Refugee Olympic Athletes team, competing under the Olympic flag – two judokas from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one Ethiopian marathon runner, two Syrian swimmers, and five runners from South Sudan.
S is for SHOT PUT
The first field medals will be decided at the Olympic Stadium on Friday in the women’s shot put. Already considered among New Zealand’s greatest Olympians, Valerie Adams is seeking to become the first Kiwi woman to claim three Olympic golds after previous success in Beijing and London.
WHEN TO SEE IT Women’s shot put final is on Friday.
T is for 10,000m
The track events begin on Friday, with the first medals being awarded in the women’s 10,000m. At the age of 42, Jo Pavey will make history in the event when she becomes the first British track athlete to compete in five Olympic Games. She’ll be up against double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia who is attempting to become the first athlete to win three gold medals over the distance.
WHEN TO SEE IT Women’s 10,000m final is on Friday.
U is for UNDEFEATED
With one Olympic gold and nine World titles to her name, US swimming sensation Katie Ledecky is undefeated in all major international competitions. In Rio, the 19-year-old is expected to swim at least four events – and is favourite to win the lot.
Former Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington says: “Katie is extra special. She won the 800m freestyle gold in 2012 when she was just 15, and has gone from strength to strength. In the 200m, 400m and 800m, she is so far ahead of the field that her opponents will be fighting to get silver.”
WHEN TO SEE HER Ledecky’s first individual event is likely to be the women’s 400m freestyle final on Sunday.
V is for VALEGRO
Double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin says her horse Valegro will retire after Rio at the age of 14. The duo won individual and team dressage gold for Britain at London 2012 and have since won World and European titles, making them firm favourites for success in Brazil. “This will be Valegro’s last Olympics so I want to enjoy every last minute,” says Dujardin. “Riding Valegro always makes you smile.”
WHEN TO SEE THEM Team dressage final is on Friday; individual dressage final is on 15 August.
W is for MAX WHITLOCK
Often overshadowed by his more famous teammate, Louis Smith, Whitlock is now a force to be reckoned with. After a bronze on the pommel horse at London 2012, he beat Smith to a historic gold at the 2015 World Championships, becoming the first British man ever to top a gymnastics podium. No wonder Whitlock, 23, is quietly confident.
Is this the best gymnastics team Britain has sent to the Olympics? “It is definitely a strong team. Last year we beat our rivals China at the World Championships, which is unheard of, and we’ve recently scored a new personal best. It’s been so hard for the selectors to pick this team, but it’s really exciting to know what we’re potentially capable of. I can’t wait.”
How does it feel to have one of your biggest rivals, Louis Smith, in your own team? “It’s actually really helpful for both of us; we bounce off each other in training and it pushes everyone to work harder. My build up has been really good, so I’m going to Rio with a lot of confidence. I don’t like to think about the medals; I just need to go for it and perform a clean routine.”
How does this compare to London 2012? “It’s very different. I was only 19 at the last Games and nobody expected me to produce any results; I just was there to enjoy it. Four years later we’re expected to get medals as a team and as individuals. So there’s more pressure, but what comes with that is a lot more support.”
WHEN TO SEE HIM Men’s team all-around final is on Monday; men’s pommel final is on 14 August.
X is for EXPECTATIONS
The ban on most Russian athletes for a state-sponsored doping programme could mean more medals for Team GB at Rio. After winning a record 67 medals in London, Team GB has been set a target of 48 medals in 2016 – making it potentially their most successful overseas Olympics.
Y is for YOUTH
Among the Team GB teenagers making their Olympics debut is 18-year-old shooter Amber Hill, who competes in the women’s skeet. “Every competition I enter, I go in trying to win and I feel I can win gold at Rio,” says European champion Hill, a trained beautician who has marketed her own pink cartridges.
WHEN TO SEE HER Shooting starts on Saturday; women’s skeet final is on Friday.
Z is for ZIKA
Concerns about the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to serious defects in newborn babies, has led several of the world’s top golfers to pull out of the Games, including Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, while Olympic champion long jumper Greg Rutherford has had his sperm frozen as a precaution.