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All You Need to Know About the 2016 Olympics in Rio


It's time. (Rodrigo Soldon/Flickr)

The Olympics are here. The summer international sporting event that comes around every four years has arrived, this time in Rio de Janeiro. The last summer games was in Russia's Sochi, where there were a number of rough patches.

Now it's Brazil's turn to host star athletes for the world stage. But the Olympics doesn't always go without a hitch.

The political situation in Brazil is a hot mess.

The first female president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, was ousted and suspended earlier this year. President Rousseff has a history of suspected corruption--she is accused of lying about the government deficit while running for re-election. She is really close to possibly being officially impeached.

No one seems to likes the interim president, Michael Temer, who is also suspected of corruption. And it's not just him or Rousseff: At least 60% of Brazil's Congress is being investigated for corruption.

Aside from the hot mess surrounding Brazil's political elite, there have been Olympics-related crises hitting the ground in Brazil for months--even years.

The governor of Rio de Janeiro declared an economic emergency, calling for financial help before the Games.

The water for competitions isn't clean at all. Like, it's really gross. But sailors and rowers say they'll still play.

Zika has a strong foothold in Brazil.

The country has suffered severely with the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Back in April, 90,000 suspected cases were recorded. The government actually warned families against having sex--as it's one of the ways Zika can be spread.

Rio had a suspected 157 cases of Zika for every 100,000 people in the city back in April. That made it three times worse off than other Brazilian states.

Yet, the Games will go on. There were 150 doctors and scientists who demanded they be moved to another country because of Zika, but The United Nations says it's okay. And the World Health Organization believes there's a "very low risk" of Zika spread from the Olympics.

Because Rio is in the middle of its winter months, Zika cases have gone down. Olympic organizers and health officials say the Games could be virus-free.

The terror threat is being watched.

The Olympic Games is always a target for any kind of attack--as it's the world stage for dozens and dozens of countries. Brazil is on edge, watching for any kind of threat.

The Islamic State posted messages in Portuguese in an attempt to form a network in Brazil to organize an attack on the Olympics. The US is helping Brazil with law enforcement and intelligence work to avoid any such event.

Actually, Brazil arrested 12 people suspected of planning terrorist attacks on the Olympics earlier in July.

Over 100 Olympians are banned from playing.

So, Russia almost wasn't allowed to compete in the Olympics AT ALL.

That's because the government was suspected of sponsoring a doping program for all their athletes, meaning state-supported practices to take performance-enhancing drugs that are banned in all of the Games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency wanted a full ban of Russia's Olympic team after their investigation on Russia's sporting practices. But then the International Olympic Committee set up a team to see which Russian teams could pass their anti-doping rules.

Just a day before the opening ceremonies, Russia was allowed to play only some of their team--271 Russian athletes were accepted, while 118 were banned.

But there's a new team playing this year: The Refugee Olympic team.

Ten Olympians will not be coming from any country. They are a part of the Refugee Olympic team, the first of its kind in the Olympics' history.

It brings light to the world's current crisis with refugees, as today's level of refugees and migrants is higher than at any other time in history--including World War II--with 65.3 million displaced.

These people left their homes because of poverty, violence, or war.

Now they have a team to represent them.

There are five refugees from South Sudan (the world's newest country, which is still struggling in conflict), two from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (dealing with decades of violence), two from Syria (which is in the midst of a five-year war that's killed hundreds of thousands), and also one from Ethiopia (which is handling the bulk of Africa's refugees as their politics go awry).

Imagine ... Yusra Mardini is a Syrian refugee who fled to Turkey who wished for safety in Europe. She was on a weak and flimsy boat launched from the Turkish shore, en route to the Greek island of Lesbos, when the boat started to sink.

Mardini saved about twenty people, including her sister, by swimming to push the boat safely to shore.

Now, she'll compete professionally as a swimmer at the Olympics.

Images used under Creative Commons licensing.

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All You Need to Know About the 2016 Olympics in Rio

Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a freelance international news reporter, having contributed to The Atlantic online and Mic. He's worked at CNNMoney, the New York Daily News, and Voice of America. Patrick loves tweeting, reading, and grabbing coffee in either New York or Washington D.C. Tweet anything on politics or world conflict to him! Follow: @patrickdehahn.

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