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A Viewer’s Guide to the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio

7 Moments You Won’t Want to Miss

This week, the tantalizing spectacle and extraordinary athleticism that is the Olympics begins in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. NBC and its affiliate networks will be home to the 2016 Summer Games, broadcasting more than 6,755 hours of sports programming over the course of 19 days. These games are anticipated to be the most watched in history because Rio is only one hour ahead of eastern time and programming will be offered for the first time in Ultra HD 4K. Host Bob Costas will anchor the primetime desk from NBC’s beachfront studio, while Ryan Seacrest helms the late-night coverage. The Olympics will see plenty of opportunities for American women’s teams to repeat medals across a variety of popular sports, including swimming, gymnastics, track & field, tennis, soccer, and basketball. Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, with the Golf Channel poised to tee off on over 115 hours of tournament programming. NBC’s sister network, Bravo, will serve up tennis coverage while NBC Sports (NBCSN) is where you can catch most of the soccer and basketball matches. But all of this stunning pageantry is not without controversy and Rio de Janeiro seems to have garnered more than their share. The typical political and financial instability, security issues, and transportation problems that seem to plague every Olympic city have been complicated by concerns about water pollution and the Zika virus. Throw in the recent Russian doping scandal that has seen several athletes banned from competition and you have a recipe for dramatic televised coverage. You’ll want to stay tuned to the following events to catch the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in what are sure to be the most memorable moments of the 2016 Olympic Summer Games.

1. The Opening Ceremony

Where to Watch: NBC When: Friday, August 5th 6:30-11pm Eastern Over 10,00 athletes will enter the infamous Maracanã soccer stadium to open the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Details of the event are usually kept top secret, but you can be assured plenty of carnival flair, fireworks, and dazzling displays of ingenuity will all take center stage. The highlight of the ceremony includes the lighting of the Olympic torch, and while it’s traditional to keep mum about who will tackle this particular responsibility, it’s rumored Brazil’s own soccer legend, Edson Arantes de Nascimento, known as Pelé, will do the honors.  

2. Women’s Gymnastics Final

Where to Watch:  NBC Sports When: Thursday, August 11th 3pm Eastern Watch the USA women’s gymnastics team attempt to take back-to-back golds for the first time in the finals. Their chances are better than ever, thanks to Simon Biles, nicknamed the “Michael Jordan” of gymnastics because of her ability to defy gravity. And with solid competitors like Gabby Douglas, the women’s team should gracefully vault their way into Olympic history.  

3. Men’s Swimming, 200 Meter Medley

Where to Watch: NBC Sports When: August 11th, 9pm Eastern Michael Phelps has been called the most successful Olympian of all time. He is the first male athlete to qualify to attend five Olympic games and is sure to make a big splash in what could be his final appearance. Watch him propel to a career-defining finish in the 200-meter medley against eleven-time Olympic gold-medalist, Ryan Lochte.  

4. Women’s Tennis Doubles Final

Where to Watch: Bravo When: Sunday, August 14th 11:30 am Eastern Does anyone ever get tired of watching the incredible athleticism of the Williams sisters? Serena and Venus already have more gold medals than any other tennis player in the history of the Olympic games. Considering the fact they earned all three of those medals playing doubles, we expect to watch them snag a fourth win at the tennis doubles final in Rio. Plus, since they are fresh off the heels of winning the doubles for the sixth time at Wimbledon, this seems like an easy set and match to the Williams sisters.  

5. Men’s Track & Field, 100 Meter Finals

Where to Watch: NBC Sports When: August 14th, 7 pm Eastern Can anyone catch the fastest man in the world? Find out when Usain Bolt runs his last Olympics in Rio. He’ll be hoping to break land-speed records and capture his third gold in the 100 meter against fiercely fast competition like Justin Gatlin. While Bolt is widely considered unstoppable, he is fresh off a hamstring injury that could slow him down in his race to an Olympic medal.  

6. Women’s Soccer Tournament Finals

Where to Watch: NBC Sports When: August 19th 2:30 pm Eastern In four out of the last five Olympic soccer tournaments, the US women’s team has dominated, achieving their goal of a gold medal. They’ll be looking to score their fifth Olympic win beginning with a match against New Zealand that airs pre-opening ceremony, Wednesday, August 3rd at 6pm Eastern. If they’re successful, they’ll be the first team in history to win the World Cup and the Olympic tournaments in back-to-back summers.  

7. Women’s Basketball Finals

Where to Watch: NBC Sports When: Friday, August 20th 2:30 pm Eastern The USA Women’s basketball team has become a veritable Olympic dynasty and they’ll be trying to score their 6th straight gold medal at the Olympic games in Rio. The team’s roster is packed with humble champs and veterans, so CNN’s attempt to coin them “The Best Team You’ve Never Heard of” seems apt. Catch the full schedule of events and details about coverage on NBC’s Olympic Site.   Need cable so you don’t miss a minute of coverage? Use our zip code tool to find a provider in your area.

About the Author

Kaz is a writer, blogger and avid consumer of anything with a subtitle. She may or may not be obsessed with Outlander.

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