No explanation necessary for this flag, which I’ve always liked. Photo courtesy of olympicgames-tickets.blogspot.com
THE GAMES OF THE XXI OLYMPIAD
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Opening Ceremonies: Friday, August 5th, 4:00 p.m.
TV: NBC Channel 4 and the NBC Sports Network
Being that this will be SoCal Sports Annals’ first Olympics coverage, we want to make sure it goes well.
The issues and problems that Rio de Janeiro has been having in their preparation for these Games, from low-income residents being forcibly removed from their homes to make room for various venues to athletes pulling out due to the mosquitoes in the area carrying the Zika virus, have been well documented.
A commentary on these issues, as well as other issues regarding the International Olympic Committee, will appear on this site very soon.
But for now, we want to keep things positive and list just some of the nearly 50 athletes that call the Southern California region home who will be marching in the Opening Ceremonies at Maracana Stadium.
Though congratulations and the best of luck are in order to all 555 athletes who will be wearing the red, white and blue of Team USA, here’s a list of just some of the SoCal participants, including some big names:
Rio de Janeiro’s iconic statue of Christ overlooking Marcana Stadium, where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held. Photo courtesy of iaaf.org
* DeAndre Jordan (Clippers), basketball
This will be the Clipper center’s 1st Olympics, as he will be looking to help the latest version of the Dream Team continue its dominance and retain the gold medal
* Paul George, basketball
Currently plays for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers
* Klay Thompson, basketball
Home: Los Angeles
Currently plays for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and is the brother of the Dodgers’ Trayce Thompson
* DeMar Derozan, basketball
DeRozan is not only from SoCal and is currently a Toronto Raptor, he played his college basketball at USC.
* Diana Taurasi, women’s basketball
This Olympic veteran, who currently plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, will be going for her fourth gold medal as part of Team USA.
The Olympic Games’ torch lighting from the 2012 Opening Ceremonies in London, courtesy of YouTube.com
* Alyson Felix, women’s track and field
Home: Los Angeles
A USC graduate, Felix will be competing in her fourth Olympics and will be attempting to add to her four gold medals in the 400 meters and the 4 X 400 meters (where she will be defending her gold medal win)
* Alex Morgan, women’s soccer
Home: Diamond Bar
Much like their hoops sisters, Morgan will look to help add to the soccer team’s gold medal dominance and defend their Olympic title as this will be her second go around.
* Kim Rhode, shooting
Home: El Monte
This lady defines the term “Olympic Veteran”, as this will be her sixth Games, dating back to 1996 in Atlanta. She will be going for her fourth gold medal and attempting to defend her championship in skeet shooting.
* Serena Williams, tennis
No descriptions necessary for this tennis legend, as this will be her fourth Games and will be trying to duplicate the gold medals she won in both singles and doubles in 2012 – on top of all her other exploits.
* Venus Williams, tennis
Again, no descriptions necessary as like her sister, she will be going for her fourth gold medal in her fourth Games as well as try to win her third straight gold in doubles.
A spectacular scene from the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics. Photo courtesy of theguardian.com
A NOTE REGARDING THE MEN’S AND WOMEN’S WATER POLO TEAMS:
Out of the 26 players on the two water polo teams going to Rio, 17 of them hail from Southern California, including five who have either played or are currently playing water polo at UCLA, three who are doing the same at USC, and one from Pepperdine.
One notable SoCal native on the men’s team is Tony Azevedo from Long Beach, who will be competing in his fifth Games.
Other Southland natives who will be in the water for Team USA include:
* Rachel Fattal, Seal Beach (UCLA)
* Sami Hill, Santa Barbara (UCLA)
* Courtney Mathewson, Anaheim (UCLA)
* Alex Roelse, Westwood (UCLA)
* Josh Samuels, Villa Park (UCLA)
* McQuin Baron, North Tustin (USC)
* Kami Craig, Santa Barbara (USC)
* Kaleigh Gilchrist, Newport Beach (USC)
* Merrill Moses, Newbury Park (Pepperdine)
The official logo of the Rio Games. Photo courtesy of safetravel.govt.nz