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Olympics Opening Amid Questions, Hopes, Dreams

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August 3, 2016

The Olympics open in Brazil this week, amid heavy expectations and a reduced number of participants.

It will be the first Olympic Games in a South American country. Brazil also was the host country for the Soccer World Cup in 2014.

The Games will feature 306 events in 42 disciplines at 37 venues. Participants from 206 countries will exceed 10,000. The first event will be Soccer, featuring two days of competition before the Opening Ceremony.

The news in recent days has been mostly about the conditions of the Olympic facilities and about the state of the waters to be used for events like sailing and triathlon.

Also a hot topic of late has been the International Olympic Committee’s recent banning of more than 100 Russian athletes and a stern warning to hundreds more that they must get their sporting federation’s clearance to compete. The World Anti-Doping Agency released evidence of widespread doping among Russian athletes at the 2012 Games in London.

The Olympic Torch is in its final stages of the Relay, arriving in Rio de Janeiro and set to arrive in time for the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, August 5.

The Relay carried the torch more than 12,000 miles and to more than 300 cities in all regions of South America’s largest country. More than 12,000 people carried the Torch at some point during the Relay since the Torch’s arrival from Greece on May 3.

In the final stages of the Relay, torchbearers will carry the Torch on Rio’s newly built tram system and up to the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain, before the final part of the journy to Maracana stadium for the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. The Torch will travel to all parts of Rio, which has declared a holiday to help facilitate the Relay.

The Games will take place in the shadow of political uncertainty. President Dilma Rousseff is scheduled to face an impeachment trial at the end of August. Rousseff was suspended on May 12 and replaced by Vice-president Michel Temer. Two-thirds of the Brazilian Senate would have to vote to oust Rousseff, who is accused of budget irregularities.

The Games run through August 21.

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