Finally, the Olympic Summergames 2016 have started

Finally, the Olympic Summergames 2016 have started

Finally! The Olympics have officially started last night! I have really been looking forward to this moment. I simply love the summer Olympics. Sure the Winter Olympics were just two years ago, but the summer Olympics are something extra special. I love ‘classical’ sports such as track and field, swimming, and my personal favorite Judo. I cannot wait for the first matches to start.

A few hours ago, the opening ceremony in Maracana (Brasilia) kicked off with a spectacular show, celebrating the Brazilian history. The Brazilians did a fantastic job showing the world their rich cultural heritage – driven by colonialism, slavery and trade. Brazil is a nation of many different cultures – that live peacefully in their beautiful country. Each culture had helped shape Brazil to the country it is today with their music (samba) and sports (such as Capoeira – see video below) – in my opinion the perfect host for this years Summer Olympics 2016.

Capoeira – Brazilian National Sport

Three whole weeks of sports, excitement, drama, doping, medals and new born heroes… There is no place I would rather be right now, than in front of my television. Of course I will be rooting for my fellow Dutchmen mostly, but I am also really looking forward to the Usain Bolt vs Justin Gatlin fight on the 100 meters and to see whether Michael Phelps will be able to grab yet another medal at the games.

Let’s hope that we will be able to break our Dutch medal record (25 medals in Sydney at the Summer Olympics of 2000). 🙂

Usain Bolt wins Olympic Gold in London 2012 Olympics

Stepanova is not allowed to start

I am a little disappointed that Stepanova is not allowed to start at these Olympics. This strong woman uncovered the biggest, systematic doping scandal in modern sports to date, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was not man enough to stand up to the Russian Federation.

the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was not man enough to stand up to the Russian Federation.

At the European Games in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, Stepanova competed under a neutral flag, and although very few in the stadium noticed her at all (she ended last in the 800 meter finals, mainly due to an injury) I think it is important to make a statement against doping and promote doping free sports. We should support each and every athlete who stands up to injustice and doping in sports.

No reaction to Thomas Bach’s speech

I would have expected a stronger (negative) reaction to Thomas Bach’s speech during the opening party. Thomas Bach is the president of the IOC committee, who changed his (the general IOC) opinion in the last few weeks to allow the Russian “doped” athletes to compete in the Olympics.

Although the WADA had clearly said that they have proof of systematic manipulation of doping results and doped Russian athletes, the IOC overruled the advice of the WADA to allow the athletes to start – or at least, let the National (Russian) sport association respectively decide on the faith of the athletes.

In my humble opinion, I find the decision of the IOC a very poor one. Both for the Russian athletes, who did not have an adequate time to prepare for the Olympics, as well as the fact that it send out an entirely wrong signal to the world. You can dope, as long as your national squad is fine with it. We all know exactly what that means. Not all countries on this planet, live by the same rules. That is why we need the WADA… I hope that this is not the end of it, and we will see further investigations in the months to come.

I wish all athletes and sports lovers a great, successful and beautiful Olympic Games.

My personal Highlights

Mens Cycling Road Race

The start of the Olympics on day 1 was full of accidents. The mens cycling road race was my personal highlight of the first day. Although the Dutch team could not really make a fist against the strong top of the field, a lot happened. Ialy’s Vincenzo Nibali suffered a broken collarbone and Australia’s Richie Porte suffered a broken scapula Saturday at the men’s Olympic road race in Rio de Janeiro.

Porte took a hard a fall on a tricky descent in the penultimate lap of the Vista Chinesa circuit, abandoning the race, while Nibali ran into trouble on the very same downhill run the following lap. The 31-year-old Italian looked like a strong bet to win gold until he crashed rounding a corner 12 kilometers from the Copacabana finish. Avermaet was the first to the occasion and took his chance to win Belgiums first Olympic Gold of the Games.

Womens Cycling Road Race

This time it was up to the women to take on the dangerous Rio-Track. Annemiek van Vleuten looked like she was going to take the Gold, with just 10km to go it did not look like anyone was going to stop her. Yet the womens event took a similarly dramatic end. The Dutch-Lady crashed just mere kilometres before the finish line.

The Brit (Abbott) continued on, and it looked like she would make it solo over the finishline, but her fellow contenders caught up with her just a mere 1.000 meters before the finish line – with the Dutch Anna van der Breggen taking the gold.

Next to the womens cycling race, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Beachvolleyball Mens first round between Cuba and Brazil. Gomez and Gonzalez took on the mightily strong Brazilian Team (Junior and Solberg) in a sizzling 3 set match that went all the way to the end. The Cubans have never really won anything so far (9th place at the latest Worldcup), but they looked incredibly strong. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and fast paced game. Looking forward to seeing more of the beach volley tournament in the days to come.

Oh yeah, and on a side note: Djokovic lost his opening match and is already out of the olympics. I bet nobody saw that coming… But Del Potro was definitely not an easy opponent… With  Federer out of the running, and Djokovic out too, maybe Nadal will actually stand a chance of defending his title.

Dex Elmont (Judo NED) and more

Dex Elmont (NED) did not make it past the quarter finals at the Olympics. I had really hoped that Dex would’ve been able to create a bit of a shock in his weight class. We both competed at the National Championships a number of years ago in the youth teams of NED, and Dex is an outstanding athlete.

After his 5th place at the last Olympics, he really deserved a long awaited medal. Keep your head up mate, I hope you will continue to fight and show us what you are made of again at the next World/European Championships.

Yuri van Gelder sent home

It is a little absurd, but one of the Dutch athletes was sent home by the NOC NSF (Dutch Olympic Committee) due to the fact that he came home late last night. Yuri had gone out to drink something outside of the Olympic Village, after he had qualified for the finals on the Rings. The ridiculous thing about this is, that Yuris final is not due for another week. Yet the NOC NSF finds it unprofessional that Yuri drank something and decided to send him packing.

Yuri van Gelder is a great athlete with a clear problem – he is supposably easily addicted. in 2009 he was suspended for 2 years for using Cocaine. But he bounced back and managed to fight his way back to the top of the world rankings. Unfortunately, the Dutch Team were more busy making sure that their internal rules were lived by, than that they looked at the individual athlete and offered him help.

Yuri was a serious contender for a medal at his first Olympics. I am having a hard time accepting this move. I do not know what else has happened, but at a first glance, it seems to me that the NOC NSF find themselves a little bit too important and over-reacted. I really feel sorry for him… And I hope he will bounce back once again from this huge disappointment and will receive the help he really needs and deserves. For a socialist state as the Netherlands, one would expect them to look better after one another and help each other – instead of just looking at someones flaws.

Anicka van Emden (JUDO): Second Medal for the Netherlands – Congrats Anicka!