Table tennis is not often the first sport that comes to mind when you think of ‘The Olympics’, but this year is going to be different. Table Tennis has been part of the Olympic Games for nearly 30 years and is the most popular racket sport in the world. The incredible speed and mastery in dexterity make it a spellbinding spectacle. On June 18th 2016, BM Group sponsored an event with the current US Table Tennis Olympians. Broadcasted on NJ 12, Chinese TV and online, this year’s team is one to root for. One of its members, Kanak Jha, happens to be the youngest Olympian to ever compete and the only one to be born after 2000. Besides table tennis, here are 5 other new and returning events for the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic games that you should be watching.
One event to look forward to in Rio this August will be sailing. Yes, I said sailing. From what started as a 1 event sport has turned into a tournament of 10-team finals. It is the only sport in the Olympics that allows men and women on the same team. Sailing, which used to be called Yachting, is one of the oldest Olympic games starting back in 1896, and is still a fan favorite today.
Rugby Sevens and Golf
Returning to the Olympics this summer are rugby and golf. Historically, fifteen-player rugby was an Olympic event between 1900-1924. This year, Rio will debut rugby sevens which will prove to be a shorter and faster modification of the contact heavy sport. While talking about returning events, golf will also be making an appearance after a 112-year hiatus. The Olympic format for golf this year will be based on an individual as opposed to a team. If you don’t care that much about golf, I don’t blame you, but by the looks of it we do have a competitive advantage here. The US currently has 6 of the top 15 golfers in the world, with 4 of them competing this year, so we should be able to gain a medal or 3.
Time to meet the 2016 US Women’s Olympic gymnastics team! First up, Simone Biles. Biles is 19 years old from Spring, Texas and a three-time all-around world champion. In just three years she won 14 world championship medals, 10 of which are gold. This puts her at the top of the list of ANY U.S. athlete in HISTORY and earning her the only automatic qualification spot. Next is returning gold medalist Gabby Douglas, 20. She was the first black gymnast to win an individual gold medal in 2012 at the London Olympics. Another returning champion is Aly Raisman, 22. In 2012 she returned back to the US as the most decorated gymnast with a gold on floor exercise, a bronze on the balance beam, and funded the overall team’s gold medal. Next we have Laurie Hernandez, age 16, from Old Bridge, New Jersey. Not only is she the first Puerto Rican woman to make the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team, but she’s also the only first-year, senior-level gymnast. Lastly we have Madison Kocian, 19, from Dallas, Texas. Kocian specializes in the uneven bars and is the only event specialist on the team. Kocian is expected to contribute to the other events as well.
Beach volleyball is a combination of strength, agility, and strategy. With high-speed attacking shots and serves, this event is always fast moving and exciting. If that’s not a good enough excuse to watch it this year, we’re sure their uniforms are…
When I say Olympic swimming, Michael Phelps is probably the first name that comes to mind. But even with all his glory, Phelps has had plenty of problems. His DUI in 2014 resulted in a six-month suspension by USA Swimming and a 45-day stay in rehab. Today, Phelps is refocused and is preparing for this fifth and likely last Olympic games.
The Rio Games are expected to be the most-watched television event in U.S. history. While London 2012 reached over 219 million viewers, Rio is expected to reach an even higher number. Several star athletes will be competing this summer, such as Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, which will draw in fans young and old. The games will also mark the first Olympics in ten years that are close to a U.S. time zone, making it a lot easier for viewers to tune in. Go USA!