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Sports Stars that are not Afraid of Zika and will Compete in Rio Olympic Games

Sports Stars that are not Afraid of Zika and will Compete in Rio Olympic Games

Posted by Miguel Ernesto on July 21, 2016

Every four years, the main sports stars gather in one city, with the same goal in mind: reaching the Olympic glory. Their shelves can store several titles and their bank accounts are considerable, but most of them feel that, without the gold medal obtained in an Olympic Games, their sports career is not complete.

The Rio edition of the Games has been surrounded by polemic aspects, from the political uncertainty Brazil is going through, which included the stepping down of president Dilma Rouseff, to the fear of zika virus, transmitted by mosquitos. Afraid of catching this disease, several athletes, especially golfers—a discipline that is back in the official program—have decided not to participate in this edition; however, super elite athletes are going to compete in Rio, most of which will try to strengthen their Olympic legend.


In Rio, the best sprinter of all time and also the most charismatic one, Jamaican Usain Bolt, will try to repeat his wins from Beijing and London, when he got three gold medals. Bolt made history back in 2008, by becoming the first athlete to conquer three titles with a world record included (100 - 200 m dash and 4 x 100 m relay). He repeated the triple achievement at the British capital, but there was no record this time. What’s going to happen in Rio? Bolt has participated in less competitions, he suffered from an injury during the qualifying tournament in Jamaica—although he was finally registered by his country in the three racing modes—and he’ll certainly feel the pressure of strong rivals, such as US Justin Gatlin; nevertheless, the Caribbean wonder is described as the main candidate to win in 100 and 200 m dash.


When it seemed that the career of US swimmer Michael Phelps was over, the “Shark”, the top winner of medals and titles in the Olympic history, was back with a lot of spirit and guaranteed his fifth consecutive presence in the Olympic Games.

31-year-old Phelps will try to enhance his legend. He has won 22 medals, 18 of which are golden. He’s not the favorite in any specialty now, but nobody would be surprised to see him on the podium at least three times, since he’s still very strong in 200 m butterfly and 100 m medley.


The most successful Latin American basketball player in NBA, Argentinean Manu Ginobili, is back in his country’s national team with the aim of fighting for a third Olympic medal. After learning that he’s going to make 14 million dollars in his next season with San Antonio Spurs, Ginobili could be focused in leading a team made up of several veterans, like Luis Scola, and young talents. Ginobili was Argentina’s main figure during the conquest of the title in Athens 2004, when they defeated the US Dream Team (which included LeBron James, Allan Iverson and Carmelo Anthony) and he was also there for the bronze in Beijing. His last game with the team took place in London Olympic Games, where they lost the bronze against Russia.


Neymar is one of the greatest stars of world soccer and he’ll be the main figure of that sport in Rio. Brazil is the top winner of titles in World Cups, but the country hasn’t won an Olympic tournament. Is Neymar going to be able to change history? Soccer is a team sport and it would be risky to put all the responsibility on the shoulders of one athlete, but in an event where no renowned player is going to participate, the fans of the green-yellow team will certainly demand more from Neymar. 


Tennis will be one of the most-followed sports in Rio, because most of the stars are going to play there. The undisputable number one in the world ranking, Serbian Novak Djokovic, knows that this could be his last chance to win the only title that’s missing in his career. In Beijing 2008, when he was 20 years old, Djokovic got the bronze and now, in Rio, he’ll try to improve his result when competing in singles and doubles, along with his compatriot Nenad Zimonjic.

Swiss Roger Federer, who’ll be 35 years old in Rio, is also going after his first Olympic gold in singles. The veteran player, top winner in Grand Slam tournaments, got the title in doubles, back in Beijing 2008, coupled with Stan Wawrinka and, four years later, in London, the Helvetian player lost the final against Andy Murray. In Rio, besides the single tournament, Federer is going to play the mixed double, with Martina Hingis.

Spanish Rafael Nadal is the third tennis player that will be playing his last edition of the Games, since he was already on top of the Olympic podium in Beijing 2008, where he defeated Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the final. The Spanish player is far from his best level, but he’ll always be a dangerous rival.


Cuban wrestler Mijain Lopez is one of the Latin American Olympic legends that will be competing in Rio de Janeiro. The strong athlete, an icon in his country, is going to be the standard-bearer of the delegation and he has won two Olympic titles, Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Everybody points at him as the favorite to get the title in the highest division of that sport, although the Cuban athlete will be facing Turkish Riza Kayaalp.


As for Olympic judo in Rio, all eyes will be focused on French Teddy Riner, twice Olympic medalist (bronze in Beijing 2008 and champion in London 2012). The French athlete is labeled as the best judoka of the world and he hasn’t been defeated over the past lustrum, but he has gotten 8 world titles.


Wiggins is one of the top sport legends in Great Britain. In four editions of the Olympic Games, this cyclist has conquered seven medals, four of which are golden. On the track, he reached the bronze in team pursue, Sidney 2000, and in Athens 2004, he won the single pursue and got the silver in teams; moreover, he finished third in Madison. In Beijing 2008, he climbed to the top of the podium in both single and team pursue. In London 2012, he won the timed single race. 

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