Rio Olympics 2016: What you need to know

Eddie Dawkins of New Zealand track cycling. Photo: Google Images

As the biggest sporting event approaches, Newsbeat’s Braeden Leggett offers a rundown of everything you need to know before the opening ceremony on August 5.

Audio: Listen to Sports Talk NZ’s podcaster Braeden Leggett talk about the Rio Olympics

This year’s Olympics will be held in Rio, Brazil, in what will be the 31st Olympic games (summer and winter games combined).

The event will take place between August 5 – 21, and feature a record number of countries playing a record number of sports. More than 10,500 athletes will take part from a range of 206 different countries.

306 sets of medals will be up for grabs across 28 Olympic sports.

A list of all the sports featuring in this years Rio Olympics.
A list of all the sports featuring in this years Rio Olympics. Photo: Google Images

These sporting events will take place in 33 sporting venues around Brazil.

New Zealand will be competing at the Games for the 25th time since their first encounter in 1908.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee confirmed last week that a total of 177 athletes (87 men, 90 women) will be competing from the country across 18 sporting events.

The Olympic Rowing team for the Rio Olympics.
The Olympic Rowing team for the Rio Olympics. Photo: Google Images

New Zealand’s chef de mission Rob Waddell says the team has what it takes to make it the country’s highest Olympic medal earnings ever achieved.

“We’re travelling to Rio on the back of our most successful Olympic Games ever and I’m determined that continues,” Waddell said.

“I’ve been to three Olympic Games and experienced them not just as a successful gold medal winner but also as a wide-eyed first-timer and again as an athlete struggling to meet expectations. So the medal target is based on us trying to be realistic.”

Some key names to look out for in this year’s Olympics are Valerie Adams as she competes in her fourth Olympics, silver medalist 1500 metre runner Nick Willis, Canoeist Lisa Carrington, Sailor Peter Burling and many more.

Mark Todd will become New Zealand's oldest Olympian as he competes at Rio this year.
Mark Todd will become New Zealand’s oldest Olympian as he competes at Rio this year. Photo: Google Images

Rumours say New Zealand’s oldest Olympian Mark Todd, aged 60, will be the flag bearer for the country at the opening ceremony, as he tries to go for gold in the equestrian sport.

Can New Zealand have a more successful Olympics than London 2012?

Rob Waddell believes “The difference between a gold and a silver can come down to the smallest factors.”

You can follow New Zealand’s journey throughout the tournament at www.olympic.org.nz, or check your Sky Television times for more details.

Braeden Leggett
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