The wait is over and the Olympics are officially underway! A surprisingly good opening ceremony is firmly in the rear-view mirror, with the first day of finals upon us. So HPN thought that we’d have a look at the respective finals, anything to watch out for.
Highlight of the day
Cycling – Men’s Road Race
Rio has chucked up a really interesting course for the road part of the cycling program. The first Olympic final to start in 2016 will have steep, Ardennes-esq climbs, sections of cobbles and a potential sprint finish with 20kms of flat road at the end. It’s very likely that the peleton will segment off, with the chance of a breakaway succeeding. A surprise winner is a definite chance, and it should be a good watch.
Favourites: Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde, Julian Alaphilippe, Chris Froome.
Probably should watch
Swimming – Women’s 4x100m Freestyle
THERE IS JUST SO MUCH FUCKING SWIMMING. You will get sick of living and breathing swimming over the next week. It might just take the four finals tonight to do so. The 4x100m relay is one of the marquee events of the pool, and if we had to pick one from tonight to watch (which is what we are doing), this is the one. Australia should win comfortably here though.
Favourites: Australia, USA.
Fencing – Women’s individual epee
Fencing as a sport occupies a strange place in the Olympics. It seems incredibly full of depth and nearly impenetrable, but by simple virtue of being a sword fight could look more badass than it does. It is very difficult to film well due to the speed and thinness of the weapons.
Scoring is first to 15 or the winner is declared after 3 rounds of 3 minutes. The use of electronic scoring (hits cause a beep and some light) led to a pretty intriguing protest scenario in London where three consecutive simultaneous strikes occurred at the last second before the winning blow was struck. The losers protested on plausibility grounds and were rejected.
At any rate, the epee is the longer of the two point-only sword disciplines. In contrast to the foil and sabre, the range of valid targets is the whole body.
Favourites: Rossella Fiamingo, Tatiana Logunova.
Watch it if it’s already on
Archery – Men’s team
South Korea come in as the nearly unbackable favourites, but they set a world record in the qualifying stage of the London Olympics only to fall in the semi finals and only secure a bronze. Can it possibly happen again?
Favourites: South Korea, USA, Italy.
Judo – Women’s 48KG
Judo looks cool – a throwing based combat sport. Both members of HPN would suck at it. Our advice – don’t pick a fight with a judoka. Brazil are a real chance of winning their first gold medal here through Sarah Menezes, who is the reigning Olympic champion.
Favourites: Sarah Menezes, Urantsetseg Munkhbat, Paula Pareto, Ami Kondo.
Judo – Men’s 60KG
By the way, judoka is a really, really cool word for a participant of an Olympic sport. In fact, it might be the best of all of them. Just look at it: JUDOKA. Dominant. Taekwondoin is a close second. A diver (when used for a football player) is second-last. Fencer is rock bottom because it can mean a criminal or someone who builds fences. That’s not in the OLYMPIC SPIRIT (c) (TM).
Favourites: Kim Won-Jin, Orkhan Safarov, Yeldos Smetov, Naohisa Takato.
Swimming – Men’s 400m Freestyle
This event is somewhat open. Australia has a swimmer called Mack Horton vying for a medal here, which sounds more like a ’30s blues musician than a modern Olympian. I hope he wins and then breaks into the Gold Medal Blues with a backing band formed of the losers. EVEN WINNERS GET SAD SOMETIMES.
Favourites: Mack Horton, Sun Yang, James Guy.
Swimming – Women’s 400m IM
Katinka Hosszu will win this event. That’s what you’ll read about in the papers tomorrow.
Favourite: Katinka Hosszu.
Swimming – Men’s 400m IM
The Individual Medley is kinda of weird, but they could go all out if they wanted. In the Paris Olympics they had the obstacle race. They should bring that back.
“Oh and it looks like Michael Phelps will win another gold medal, and WHAT’S THAT! HE’S BROKEN HIS ANKLE ON A WINE BARREL! HE’S SLOWLY DROWNING, THIS IS TRAGIC! OH THE HUMANITY!!!”
Now that’s entertainment.
Favourites: Kosuke Hagino, Daiya Seto, Chase Kalisz.
Shooting – Women’s 10m air rifle
There are a lot of shooting events in this Olympics. This is one of them. The 10m air rifle is where they shoot a target from 10 metres away with an air rifle. This is all in the title of the event.
Favourites: Yi Siling, Andrea Arsovic, Li Du.
Shooting – Men’s 10m air pistol
If you watch this one, let us know how it goes. We’re probably not going to bother. They should make like two or three combined shooting events at most. INFLATION OF SHOOTING EVENTS MUST BE STOPPED. There’s also zero reason not to have shooting be unisex. The two gender events score nearly identically because it’s PEOPLE AIMING A GUN AND FIRING THE GUN. Except, for some reason the men have two extra qualification rounds.
Favourites: Jin Jong-oh, Filipe Wu, Jitu Rai.
Weightlifting – Women’s 48 KG
There’s also a lot of freaking weightlifting. Weightlifting is good in very short sharp bursts. It is devastatingly boring for extended stretches. It is literally the sport of the “DO YOU EVEN LIFT BRO”. BTW weightlifters have already been expelled this Olympics for doping.
Favourites: Hou Zhihui, Yulia Paratova, Hiromi Miyake.