The International Olympic Committee decided in 2009 that Rio de Janeiro would be the first South American and second Latin America country (after Mexico City 1968) to host the Olympic Games. In the vote they beat Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid. The XXXI Olympics will be held from August 5 to 21, 2016 in Rio and six other Brazilian cities. It is expected that 10,500 athletes − members of the Olympic family − from the 206 invited countries will compete. For the first time South Sudan and Kosovo will participate. They will all compete for 306 sets of medals in 28 sports. After more than a century golf returns to the programme and after almost a century rugby returns, but with only 7 players. The classic, almost ancient sport of wrestling was threatened with removal but in the end it stays in the program. The opening ceremony, the final of the football tournament and closing the ceremony will be held in the completely rebuilt cathedral of football – the Maracana stadium, preserving only its well-known external “skeleton”. Its fully seated capacity of 87,000 ranks in 22nd place in the list of the largest stadiums in the world. At the FIFA World Cup final in 1950, 210,000 spectators were in the stadium − this is the largest number of supporters ever in a stadium.
Slovakia will send 40 athletes to Rio. This, the smallest expedition in our history will represent us in the athletics, swimming, canoe slalom, canoe sprint, shooting, road and mountain biking, triathlon and synchronized swimming competitions. Unfortunately as usual, with the exception of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Slovakia will not be represented in team sports. All of the previous 7 Slovak Olympic golds, 6 out of 9 silver, and 3 out of 6 bronze, came from the wild water canoeing and swimming events (canoe sprint, canoe slalom and swimming). Now our hopes lie with the walking and cycling events plus the shooting range. The author of the postage stamp design and the theme for a FDC pinned his hopes on the shooting event. Good luck to him and especially to our athletes in Rio!
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