theSkimm's Guide to

THE RIO OLYMPICS

Rio olympics partnership 00

THE STORY

Everyone and their athletic mother’s in Rio for the Big O -- the Olympics. Except for pregnant women and the millions of people who will be watching from the couch.

HOW DO I WATCH?

NBC and all its friends are showing it (think: CNBC, Bravo, MSNBC, Golf Channel, USA, NBC Sports). If you want to watch on your computer at work until your boss walks by (no judgement), NBC is streaming more than 4,000 hours of live sweating on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC sports app. This year, sports like gymnastics and track and field are also streaming in VR. The catch? That Jetsons life requires a Samsung VR set and pay-TV login.Pay-to-watch-others-play.

THIS ALL SOUNDS CONFUSING.

It is. The Olympics are 17 days, more than 200 countries, one Michael Phelps, and a ton of events. That’s why we made you a curated Olympics calendar on our iPhone app, Skimm Ahead. It’ll tell you everything you need to watch and when, and make sure you don’t miss anything. Download here.

WELL I DON’T REALLY LIKE SPORTS.

Good for you. But the 2012 Games became the most watched TV event ever. More than 200 million people tuned into NBC to watch the best athletes in the world jump, dive, kick, and show off their biceps. So like it or not, you’ll be hearing about the Olympics. A lot.

WHY DO I KEEP HEARING THAT RIO’S A MESS?

Because it kinda is. The Olympic village has already been called “unfit for occupancy.” There’s contaminated water where athletes like rowers and sailors will be competing. And Brazil is basically HQ for the Zika virus (hint: the one carried by mosquitoes that’s bad news for pregnant women because it causes birth defects). A few athletes and journalists -- including the Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie -- have said ‘pass’ to Rio because of it.

ANYTHING ELSE?

But of course. President Dilma Rousseff is currently suspended and going through an impeachment trial, over accusations that she covered up budget gaps. It doesn’t help that Brazil’s spent a ton of cash on the Olympics and not as much on basic things like infrastructure. Cue mass protests and calls for Rousseff to resign. So while Rio’s dealing with a mass influx of people in the country, it’s also in a Dilma pickle.

TELL ME ABOUT THE OUTFITS...

Ralph Lauren designed Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms for the fifth time. And they kinda look like the Russian flag. Putin on the wrong flag.

IS THERE A MASCOT?

Oh yes. Rio’s mascot is Vinicius, a bright yellow animal that looks like a cat-slash-monkey (emoji inspo, much?) that kinda looks like the feline version of Microsoft’s Clippy #TBT.

OK READY FOR THE SPORTS NOW. WHICH ONES SHOULD I FOLLOW?

Gymnastics...as in the one that makes your yoga headstand look lame. The US women’s team won the London 2012 games. And they could say ‘stick it’ to another gold. Watch out for Simone Biles (favored to win all-around) and Laurie Hernandez (youngest US gymnast at age 16). You might also be hearing about a recent investigation that said USA Gymnastics didn't report allegations of sexual abuse by its coaches. Ugh.

Swimming...as in different strokes for different athletic folks. Michael Phelps is back with events including his signature butterfly, while Ryan Lochte’s saying ‘jeah’ and competing against Phelps in a medley. On the women’s side of the pool, 19-year-old Katie Ledecky is the one to watch. Earlier this year she became the youngest person on Time’s 100 most influential people list, in part for ‘inspiring others.’ So she’s making a literal splash.

Track and field...as in the one where the Russians are nyet invited. The team got the boot over a state-sponsored doping scandal. Who will be running? Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and Team USA’s Justin Gatlin. The two have been stepping on each other’s sneakers for years, and their rivalry will reach an all-time high in the 200M sprint. Meanwhile, US sprinter Allyson Felix is tied for the most Olympic medals won by a female track and field athlete (6) and will be looking to add some more to her collection.

Beach volleyball...as in the one that’s a shore thing. USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings is back and going after her fourth gold. This time, she has a different partner, April Ross, replacing her longtime work-wife Misty May-Treanor.

Soccer...as in the one where the women have serious balls. Team USA has won four out of the last five Olympics and they’ll be looking to kick home another W.

Trampoline...as in the bounce in your step can sometimes get you a gold medal. Yes, this is an actual sport.

Synchronized diving...as in it’s also an actual event. Insert twinning emoji.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Yup. Golf and rugby sevens (aka a mini-me rugby with a smaller team and shorter game) are new sports on the roster this year for the first time in decades. There’s also a new team on the Olympic block: the Refugee Olympic Team. The olympic committee decided to do this for the first time to help out those affected by the epic migrant and refugee crisis. The team’s made up of 10 athletes, including two swimmers from Syria and three runners from South Sudan.

theSKIMM

The Olympics are the one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and this is the first time they’ve been hosted by a South American country. Good for bringing tourist dollars to a region that needs it. Bad for the athletes competing in subpar conditions. Let the games begin.

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