- Michael Grandinetti at Fourth-Place Medal3 hrs ago
For many Olympians, winning a medal is the ultimate goal.
But for the athletes from one country, winning a medal means much, much more.
For South Korean Olympians, claiming a medal goes far beyond standing on the podium, as the Games provide an opportunity to be exempt from the country’s mandatory military service rule, according to John Duerden of The New York Times. Athletes who win a medal are freed from their military obligations.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, the South Korean men’s soccer team’s bronze medal meant much more than a third place finish. With such high stakes, it’s safe to say the nation will be highly motivated to repeat its success in Rio.
But with so much at stake, how do the players handle the pressure?
From The New York Times:
- Tanner Walters at Fourth-Place Medal3 hrs ago
When Olympic athletes returned home following the 2014 Sochi Olympics, many brought more than just medals – they brought dogs.
Some of the most memorable and heartwarming stories of the Games came out of those adoptions, as athletes took stray dogs right off the streets to give them new homes.
With all that animal attention at the last Olympics, there’s guaranteed to be plenty of scrutiny put on Rio de Janeiro this year. And that’s nothing new for the Brazilian metropolis.
In 2014, the government was accused of engaging in removal programs to control the stray dog population before the FIFA World Cup. This year, however, one animal rights agency stepped in to help oversee the city’s preparation for the Olympics.
- Alex Baker at Fourth-Place Medal6 hrs ago
Roger Federer has withdrawn from Switzerland’s team for the Rio Olympics and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season because of a knee injury. The tennis star underwent knee surgery earlier this year and according to a statement on his , requires “more extensive rehabilitation.”
Federer won a silver medal for Switzerland in singles at the London Olympics in 2012 and a gold medal with partner Stan Wawrinka in doubles at Beijing in 2008. However, a gold medal in singles remains the one major vacancy in the seven-time Wimbledon winner’s trophy cabinet.
The 17-time Grand Slam title winner is coming off a semifinal loss to Milos Raonic at this year’s Wimbledon but missed the French Open, in part because of the knee surgery he underwent in February. At 34, this is likely to be Federer’s final chance to compete in the Olympics, meaning he will likely end his career without ever having captured a gold medal in singles.
- Henry Bushnell at Fourth-Place Medal7 hrs ago
Who says the Olympics aren’t boosting the Brazilian economy?
The latest news coming out of Rio suggests that the games are indeed serving as a catalyst for local business — just not in the way you might expect. And probably not in the way the Brazilian government envisioned, because it’s not legal business.
Apparently drug dealers in Rio de Janeiro are taking advantage of their country’s hosting of the games to drive sales:
Rio cocaine dealers now using the Olympic logo, plus the warning "don't use near children," which is very thoughtful pic.twitter.com/8M0e551eej
— Alex Cuadros (@alexcuadros) July 26, 2016
And what’s more, they’re even doing so responsibly! “USE LONGE DAS CRIANCAS” translates to “USE AWAY FROM CHILDREN.”
- Ben Rohrbach at Fourth-Place Medal9 hrs ago
Bedrooms in the Olympic Village aren’t outfitted with televisions, so how will athletes pass the time?
Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee is providing 42 condoms per athlete at the 2016 Rio Olympics, according to some simple division by CNN. A record 450,000 contraceptives — triple the highest previous total — will be available in the village that will house 11,000 athletes next week.
The Summer Olympics run from Aug. 5-21. We’ll let you do the rest of the math in that equation.
Granted, there are 6,000 coaches staying in the athletes village, too — not to mention security personnel, volunteers and media members may also be among those with access to the prophylactics — but the song remains the same: There’s another Olympic-worthy activity going on in Rio de Janeiro. (And let me be the first to concede media will not be using the lion’s share of these condoms.)
- Daniel Tran at Fourth-Place Medal1 day ago
When you want a job done right, why not do it yourself?
Unsatisfied with the state of their portion of the Olympic Village, members of the Italian national Olympic committee, CONI, did not wait for repairs on a few apartments on their block. Instead, they hired contractors to complete the job that Rio has not been able to finish with athletes just days away from traveling to the Olympic host city in droves.
“Manual workers, electricians, plumbers and bricklayers – hired by CONI officials there as a matter of urgency – have been working over the past few days so that the athletes’ accommodation can be brought up to normal conditions as soon as possible,” said Italian Olympic team leader Carlo Mornati.
With the Olympic Village’s repair tickets backing up faster than its plumbing, it’s no surprise that a team took the lead on making its accommodations more inhabitable. Australia faced similar issues and had a list of some 200 problems with their building before an odd exchange resulted in expedited repairs.
- Alex Baker at Fourth-Place Medal1 day ago
It’s a generally held consensus in the world of sports and beyond that American swimmer Michael Phelps – with 18 career gold medals won across three Olympics – is the greatest Olympian of all time. However, Olympic historian Bill Mallon would beg to disagree.
According to Mallon, that honor should rightfully fall to American discus thrower Al Oerter.
Mallon’s argument? In his opinion, Phelps competes in swimming, a sport that like gymnastics or track and field, enables athletes to accumulate medals quickly by taking part in a number of different events.
But as a discus thrower, Oerter was only eligible to compete for gold once every four years, which he did successfully in 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968.
Mallon, who co-founded the International Society of Olympic Historians, also makes the case that Oerter was never really an outright favorite going into any of the Olympics he competed in.
“Oerter never won the U.S. Olympic trials,” Mallon said to Reuters. “Yet he won each gold with an Olympic record and a personal best.”
- Daniel Tran at Fourth-Place Medal1 day ago
When you’re hosting a guest in your home, malfunctioning appliances can be an embarrassing ordeal. But when that guest points out that, hey, you should probably fix it, being condescending may not be the best response.
Because of a litany of problems at their future Olympic Village building, the Australian National Team has decided to house their athletes in other accommodations. Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, wanted to show that the city was making its best efforts, but may have missed the mark on his delivery.
“We want them to feel at home here,” Paes said. “I almost feel like putting a kangaroo to jump up and down in front of their building.”
To the surprise of no one, the Aussies weren’t too happy with Rio’s latest offer. Australian committee spokesman Mike Tancred responded to Paes’ offer through a Brazilian newspaper.
- Alex Baker at Fourth-Place Medal1 day ago
The 2016 Rio Olympics will mark a number of firsts – the first time in history that a South American country has hosted the Games and the first time golf has been included as an event in more than 100 years, to name a few. Rio de Janeiro will also be the first games in Olympic history to feature different kinds of medal ceremonies based on the styles of individual sports.
The three different types of ceremonies in which athletes well receive their medals – traditional, popular, or cool – will feature different kinds of music and presenter wardrobe intended to reflect the character of the sports.
“There are so many sports in the summer Olympics and some of them are so different,” explained . “For example the music at gymnastics would be very different to BMX, or beach volleyball would be very different to fencing. So we wanted three different styles of ceremonies.”
Medals in “traditional” sports, such as gymnastics, fencing, tennis and equestrian, will be presented in more formal ceremonies featuring traditional music and medal presenters dressed in formal blazers.
- Adam Stites at Fourth-Place Medal1 day ago
Many concerns have been raised about the water quality in Rio de Janeiro, but one Olympic rower says that the worries are distracting from the most important part of the games: The athletes themselves.
Megan Kalmoe will be representing the U.S. in her third Olympic Games after finishing fifth in double sculls in Beijing in 2008 and earning bronze in quadruple sculls in London in 2012. She’s heard the media raise doubts about the readiness of host cities before and she’s sick of it.
“My request to everyone who is fixated on [expletive] in the water: Stop. Stop trying to ruin the Olympics for us,” Kalmoe wrote in a blog post last week.
“At this point, it is known that there are issues with the water quality. It is known that athletes are going to be at risk for illness. It is known that we are going to have to be smart, hygienic and take precautions. Great. Let’s move on,” Kalmoe wrote.