The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics: Everything We’re Planning to Watch

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The Summer Olympics hosts 28 sports, 300 events, and 10,000 athletes. That’s a lot to keep track of when you’re trying to tune in on T.V. to catch the moments and victories that will go down in history. For a full schedule, you can click here, and to stream 4,500 hours of the Games, you can use this app. But to make it all easier, here’s our list of the must-watch moments for Rio 2016. 

Opening Ceremonies
Friday, August 5, 7 p.m. EST

The Opening Ceremony will be held at the famed Maracanã fútbol stadium, and will be highlighted by the traditional Parade of Nations and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron by the final torchbearer. In the past three Olympics, the final torchbearer has actually been multiple people, so it will be interesting to see if Rio ends that streak.

Sunday, August 7, 9 p.m. EST

On Sunday night, several marquee swimming events will be held. The men’s 4x100m freestyle relay has traditionally been a highlight, and this year several teams could clench a spot on the podium. Reigning Olympic champion France, World champion Australia, the United States, and host nation Brazil are all in the running to win. This also marks Michael Phelps’ first day of competition, and world record-holder Katie Ledecky will be going for her first individual gold in the 400m free.

Women’s Gymnastics
Tuesday, August 9, 3 p.m. EST

The U.S. team has never won back-to-back Olympic team gold, but with Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas leading the charge, this is looking to be a history-making night.

Women’s Judo
Thursday, August 11, 2:30 p.m. EST

In the women’s 78kg medal rounds, American Kayla Harrison will be looking to become the first American woman to win two gold medals (a feat that no one, not even Ronda Rousey, has come close to).

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Friday, August 12, 9 p.m. EST

The 100m butterfly final will be Michael Phelps’ final individual Olympic swim. He’s taken gold at the last three Olympics, so expect him to end his Olympic career on a victorious note. Additionally, this night could also mark the final individual swims in Rio for Missy Franklin in the 200m back, and Katie Ledecky in the 800m free.

Women’s Tennis
Saturday, August 13, 12 p.m. EST

Serena Williams took gold at Wimbledon in 2012, and expect no less from her this year. No singles player has ever repeated as Olympic champion, but if anyone can do it, it’s Serena.

Men’s Weightlifting
Saturday, August 13, 6 p.m.

By finishing third at the 2016 Pan American Championships in Colombia, the United States earned only one spot for an American male at the Olympics — and Kendrick Farris is that sole weightlifter representing Team USA. Farris earned the sport after finishing first in the Pan American Championship’s 94kg (207 lbs.) division and will be up against similarly strong international competition in Rio. 

Track and Field
Saturday, August 13 

The world’s fastest woman will be crowned in the 100m final, and with Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the mix, this is looking to be a record-setting night. No woman has won the same individual Olympic track and field event three straight times, and if Fraser-Pryce wins, she’ll claim this honor. The U.S. could also have a big night, with medal threats in the men’s long jump and 10,000m. (Galen Rupp went one-two in London with British great Mo Farah.)

Track and Field
Sunday, August 14, 7 p.m. EST

The night after the women’s 100m final, the title of world’s fastest man is on the line. If he wins, Usain Bolt will become the first Olympic men’s runner to win the same individual event three straight times. Additionally the men’s 400m final will be a race to watch — the last two champs — Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt — will be facing off.

Women’s Beach Volleyball
Wednesday, August 17, 9 p.m. EST

In the women’s medal matches at Copacabana Beach, American Kerri Walsh Jennings will be competing for her fourth straight gold, this time with new partner April Ross (who replaced the retired Misty May-Treanor).

Track and Field
Thursday, August 18, 6 p.m. EST

The 200m final will be the last individual race of Usain Bolt’s Olympic career. Plus, the “world’s greatest athlete” will be recognized after the decathlon 1500m, with the reigning Olympic and World champ American Ashton Eaton defending his title and his world record.

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Women’s BMX
Friday, August 19, 12:30 p.m. EST

Team USA BMX rider Alise Post was poised to medal in the 2012 London Olympics when she crashed in the final straightaway of her semifinal heat. In April 2013, her mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed with melanoma. After she died in January 2014, Post knew she wanted to come back in 2016 and finish something she started long ago. Ranked in the top three, Post’s comeback will be the race to watch.

Men’s Wrestling
Friday, August 19, 3 p.m. EST

In the men’s 74kg freestyle medal matches, American Jordan Burroughs is aiming to be the third American in history to win back-to-back Olympic freestyle wrestling titles.

Women’s Soccer
Friday, August 19, 4:30 p.m. EST

The United States has won gold at four of five Olympic tournaments since the introduction of women’s soccer in Atlanta 1996. But after the tension of protests and demands for equal pay in the past year, the U.S. is sure to make this a monumental final for women’s athletics.

Women’s Triathlon
Saturday, August 20, 10 a.m. EST

American Gwen Jorgensen is currently an overpowering favorite after winning seven straight World Triathlon Series races. If she takes gold, it will be the first in American triathlon history.

Men’s Marathon
Sunday, August 21, 8:30 a.m. EST

While Kenya is traditionally a strong force in the marathon field, Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich (who pulled off the upset at London 2012) will be back to defend his title, while Meb Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, will be running for Team USA at age 41.

Men’s Mountain Biking
Sunday, August 21, 11:30 a.m. EST

The MTB track for Rio may be the one venue during the entire games that is going to be enjoyable for the athletes (sorry, sailors). Former South African mountain biker Nick Floros, designed the trail — ensuring that it’s technically challenging (there’s a 1K climb), fast (with 40-degree descents), and visible so the spectators can enjoy it just as much as the riders.

Women’s Boxing
Sunday, August 21, 1 p.m. EST

Middleweight champion Claressa Shields has been undefeated since she became the first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing champion at London 2012. Going for history by becoming the first American boxer, male or female, to win two gold medals, you can be sure that her fight will be extraordinary.

Men’s Basketball
Sunday, August 21, 2:45 p.m. EST

In the final, Team USA will (hopefully) go for its third straight gold and is overwhelmingly favored, thanks to the all-star lineup of Paul George, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Kyrie Irving. This is also legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last as the head of the Olympic squad.

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