The countdown is on.
There’s less than one year to go before the cauldron at the famed Maracanã stadium lights up for the 31st Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian city’s rich and colourful culture, set against the stunning backdrop of Copacabana Beach and the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer, is sure to deliver an Olympics like no other. The Games are being held in South America for the very first time.
Counting down the days to the Opening Ceremony on 5 August 2016, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has launched a new website to give fans access to the athletes as they embark on their journey to Rio.
Many medals in mind
In the coming months, Australia’s world-leading sailing, rowing, canoeing and road cycling teams will step up their Olympic preparations. Meanwhile, a host of fresh faces – eager to shine before the Australian public – will begin their qualification quest in a bid to book their tickets to Rio.
Some 465 athletes will have the honour of representing Australia and they won’t be alone in their pursuit of gold. Coca-Cola, a worldwide partner of the Olympic Games, will be with them all the way.
Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller has set the bar high for the team, aiming for a top-five finish on gold and overall medals, as the team achieved in 2000 and 2004. And it’s looking possible with fantastic performances from Australian swimmers at the recent World Championships and earlier in 2015 from the track cyclists, hockey and basketball teams.
As golf returns to the Summer Games after a 112-year absence, fans could see major winners Jason Day and Karrie Webb teeing off at the Reserva de Marapendi course.
2016 also marks the first time Rugby Sevens features as an Olympic sport. The faster-paced brand of the game might well make household names out of the Aussie women’s team ― champions to watch include Charlotte Caslick and Emilee Cherry.
We could even see a Wallaby or two chasing a spot on the plane to Rio. But first they’ll have to secure the Oceania tournament in Auckland, November 2015.
Both the Boomers and the Opals will be bolstered by international NBA and WNBA experience in Rio. Boomers player and NBA star, Andrew Bogut has high hopes for his team heading into Rio after missing out on the 2012 Games in London due to an ankle injury, “I love playing the Olympics, it’s a special time for sport and a great privilege to play for your country. I’m definitely still disappointed about missing London; it’s a driving factor for why I want to be involved again in Rio and have some success in an Olympics.”
And as for the team’s chances, “I think we have a lot of talented players playing around the world now so as we grow, our squad is getting more and more talented and of a higher quality – I’m excited to be a part of it”, Bogut says.
The opportunity is already a reality for Sydney siblings Max and Chloe Esposito, the first athletes to be selected for Australia’s 2016 Olympic team; they will represent the nation in the modern pentathlon.
Now it’s up to the rest of our aspiring Olympians to follow suit.
The longest continuous Olympic Games sponsor
Coca-Cola sponsored the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, and has supported every Games since.
Just like Coca-Cola, you too can cheer Aussie athletes in their bid for Olympic glory. Head to the AOC’s Rio 2016 website and social media.
So #ComeWithUs on the road to Rio.
The countdown is on.