With more than 11,000 athletes – including some new faces like gymnast Laurie Hernandez, judoka Angelica Delgado, and rugby player Isadora Cerullo – across 28 different sports, choosing what Olympic events to tune into can be overwhelming.
With that in mind, we’ve selected six events for you to keep an eye on this weekend.
To read even more coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, click here.
August 6 at 8:30 a.m.: Men's Road Race, Cycling
Here, someone will get one of the first gold medals of 2016, but it won’t come easily. He will have to power through a 150-mile race on a hilly course. In fact, Cycling Tips anticipates that something like half of the racers won’t even make it to the end of the race. The site also points out that Colombia is rolling deep with Esteban Chaves, Miguel Ángel López, Jarlinson Pantano, Sergio Henao, and. Rigoberto Urán. Each of these riders is accomplished in their own way, but Urán is the only one of them who can claim an Olympic medal, having won silver in the road race in London. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela will also be represented.
August 6 at 9:20 am: Men's Water Polo, USA vs. Croatia
Team USA plays its first match in Olympic group play, and it’s a doozy. Rio-born Tony Azevedo, in his fifth Olympics, captains the squad against defending Olympic champion Croatia. If you don’t know whether you’re a fan of the sport or not, it’s a great chance to test the waters by watching two of the best teams in the world go at it.
August 6 at 2:30 p.m.: Women's Beach Volleyball, Brazil vs. Czech Republic
Ágatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas are serious contenders to bring home (or keep home, I guess) a gold for Brazil. The two won last year’s World Championships at The Hague. Silver and Bronze also went to two other Brazilian teams, neither of which qualified for Rio. Instead, the second Brazilian team in women’s beach volleyball is Talita Antunes and Larissa França. Beach volleyball is always fun to watch every four years since most of us have played it at some point in our lives and can really understand just how much better these athletes are at the game. Barbora Hermannová and Markéta Sluková from the Czech Republic are good, but don’t expect them to stand in the way of Bednarczuk and Seixas’s march to a medal.
August 7 at 11 a.m.: Women's Basketball, USA v. Senegal
The United States women’s basketball team last lost a game at the Olympics in 1992. Since that loss to Russia, it’s been 41 straight wins, and you can expect Senegal to be 42. Diana Taurasi, in her fourth Olympics and vying for her fourth gold, will likely get off to a strong start, as she’s led Team USA in scoring in several warm-up games leading up to Rio.
August 7 at Noon: Men's Soccer, Mexico vs. Fiji
If you like competitive matches, maybe skip this one. But if you just want to see Mexico score a lot of goals and have no pity for island nations who are just doing their best, buckle up, jerk. Defending Olympic champion Mexico has already played Germany, the toughest team in its group, to a 2-2 draw. Fiji, bless its heart, lost 8-0 to South Korea. To be fair to Fiji, the lead was only 1-0 after the first hour. Mexico will have to take the match seriously as South Korea currently controls the group with three points and an inflated goal difference.
August 7 at 4:30 p.m.: Men's Beach Volleyball, Brazil vs. Cuba
If you didn’t know by now, Brazil is strong when it comes to beach volleyball. Pedro Solberg and Evandro Junior are expected to contend for a medal alongside the favored Brazilian team of Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt. But Cuba excels at volleyball and can hopefully give Solberg and Junior a run for their money in this opening match. Sergio González and Nivaldo Diaz have won three competitions this year, so here’s hoping to a fun match.