On Friday, the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games commence. This year, the summer games of the XXXI Olympiad will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with 207 nations participating and more than 10,500 athletes expected to take part. The Maracanã Stadium-based event will serve as home base to the extravaganza, and some 306 events in 28 sports will take place there and at 33 venues in the host city and five venues in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasilia and Manaus. The XXXI Olympiad will close on August 21.
New to Rio 2016 are the games of golf and rugby — added by the Olympic Committee in 2009 — and the nations of South Sudan and Kosovo will be participating for the first time.
Rio is the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics and the first Portuguese-speaking country to host.
Due to the novelty of the country’s culture as well as controversies that include a Russian doping scandal, pollution of Guanabara Bay, safety issues involving the Zika virus and instability and corruption of the country’s economy and federal government, several last-minute games have been added to the roster.
Here is a guide to the latest:
• Extreme waxing: Athletes competing in water polo, beach volleyball and swimming competitions have been drafted to participate in this test of pain endurance that is a Brazilian cultural tradition. Michael Phelps of Team USA is slated to take the gold in this competition due to his experimentation in homeopathic pain remedies.
• Cadaver dodging: Guanabara Bay — Rio’s East River — will host this event for sailing teams and the course will remain buoy-free with the exception of floating dead bodies. “It’s kind of like jazz sailing,” said one athlete who chose to remain anonymous. Cadavers dodged will be marked from judge’s boats manned by archery athletes. “It’s really cool. It’s like two events in one and doing something for the environment,” said the athlete.
• The “real” world: Here athletes compete to bribe officials with real — the Brazilian currency — in homage to the federal government. Russian competitors were favored here but disqualified due to the doping scandal.
• Diving for doodie: In lieu of “going for the gold,” athletes participating in this Guanabara Bay event are encouraged to “be down with the brown.” Much like cadaver dodging, athletes are encouraged to clean up as much as possible during their plunges.
• Thong discus throw: Known colloquially as the “disco David & Goliath” — throwers will use Brazilian swimwear to propel the discus. Much like ice dancing, costuming is factored into scoring. Bearded Benn Harradine of Australia is to be watched if only for his refusal to participate in the Extreme Waxing event.
• Bossa nova boxing: Rythmic dance combined with boxing to Brazilian sounds including bossa nova, samba, pagode, tropicalia, choro, maracatu, embolada, mangue beat, funk, frevo, forro, axe, brega, lambada and more.