More than 11,000 athletes (550 from the US) representing 206 countries have arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics (Aug. 6-21).
The opening ceremonies will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m., Friday, on KSEE Channel 24.
Central Valley Olympians participating include former Clovis High and Oregon Ducks star Jenna Prandini, who will be in the 200 meter dash, after qualifying for the USA team by a one-hundredth of a second (22.53) with a third place finish in front of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix at the U.S Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
Tori Bowie won the event in 22.25, and former College of Sequoias star and two-time junior college state champ Deajah Stevens was second in 22.30.
The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, is returning for his fifth Olympics competing in up to six events. Since first competing as a 15-year-old in 2000, he has 22 Olympic medals, 18 of them gold.
He won eight golds in a single Olympics, a record. He has 11 golds in individual events, a record. He’s won World Swimmer of the Year seven times, a record. And if he wins gold in Rio, as hes perfectly capable of, it may be his greatest accomplishment yet.
Now Phelps finds himself poised to set records not for his prolific career or speed, but his endurance. At 31, ancient for a swimmer, he could become the oldest swimmer ever to win an individual gold medal. He’d also be the first swimmer to win individual gold medals 12 years apart.
Unlike past Olympiads, Phelps won’t be participating in a wide slew of events. His body simply can’t handle that anymore. He’s focused on three individual events - the 100 meter butterfly, the 200 butterfly and the 200 individual medley. He may also participate in relays.
Phelps’ three medal races will be held Aug. 9 (200 butterfly) Aug. 11 (200 individual medley) and Aug. 12 (100 butterfly).
The five members of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team touched down in Rio late last week and immediately got to work. Their daily training sessions will help them put the final polish on their routines before the Olympic competition starts with the qualification round on Aug. 7.
If anyone in the Olympics that could be considered a sure bet for a gold medal, it could be USA gymnast Simone Biles. Other team members are Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian, Laurie Hernandez and Aly Raisman.
The three alternates are MyKayla Skinner, Ragan Smith and Ashton Locklear.
Members of the men’s team are Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton, Alex Naddour, Chris Brooks and Danell Leyva.
John Orozco was originally named to the team, but had to withdraw after tearing his ACL during training. He was replaced by Leyva, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist who was first named as an alternate. The two remaining alternates are Akash Modi and Donnell Whittenburg.
Men and women’s basketball
The New York Knick’s Carmelo Anthony will be the first American to play in four Olympics, and this will be his chance to win a third gold medal. He is just 35 points shy of becoming the Olympic all-time leading scorer. LeBron James holds the record at 273 from the past three Olympics. Anthony has played in 23 Olympic games, one short of James and David Robinson.
Members of the USA basketball team are Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson.
The gold-medal run will be the last for Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the national coach for the past decade. His teams have lost only one game during his reign, which will end after the Olympics with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich taking over.
The woman’s team, coached by Geno Auriemma, and coming into Rio with a 41-game Olympic win streak since winning bronze in 1992. Team members include Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen.
The team is aiming for it’s sixth straight gold medal.