The A to Z of Rio 2016

LIM SAY HENG and DAVID LEE draw up the guide no sports fanatic should do without


There will be 10,500 of them competing in Rio, ranging from world-famous ones like Usain Bolt, Neymar and Michael Phelps, to unknowns from South Sudan and Kosovo, countries making their first appearances in the Games. A total of 306 medals are on offer across 28 sports.


The host nation is the first South American country to host the Olympics, after failing in their three previous bids for the 1936, 2004, and 2012 editions. On Oct 2, 2009, Brazil beat Spain, Japan and the US in a voting session to host the 2016 Games.


The famous Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlook arguably the most famous beach in the world in host city Rio de Janeiro, which will host beach volleyball, marathon swimming, triathlon and road cycling.


The spectre of doping reared its ugly head in the lead-up to Rio 2016, as Russia's track and field athletes have been banned from competing at the Olympics this year by the International Association of Athletics' Federations over widespread doping in the sport.

Electronic timing

Electronic devices were first used to record times at Stockholm 1912, the same Games the photo-finish camera was first used. But these were just back-ups and times were officially recorded manually. It wasn't until 1968 that technology completely took over.

Feng Tian Wei

The 29-year-old paddler (right) is Singapore's most successful Olympian to date.

She won a women's team silver on her Olympic debut in Beijing 2008 and a singles as well as a team bronze in London 2012.

She will compete in both the singles and team events this year.


The sport will be included for the first time since the 1904 Games and features the men's and women's individual events in Rio. But the return has been marred by the pullouts of top male golfers such as Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, due to fears of the Zika virus (See Z).

Howe Liang

One of Singapore's greatest sportsmen, weightlifter Tan Howe Liang (above) won Singapore's first Olympic medal in 1960 in Rome.

He lifted a total of 380kg in the under 62.5kg lightweight category to take the silver medal.

International Olympic Committee

Singapore joined the IOC in 1948. The Switzerland-based organisation is responsible for the Olympic Movement, whose goal is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport.

Joseph Schooling

The 21-year-old (above) is gunning to win Singapore's first Olympic swim medal. The 2015 World Championships men's 100m fly bronze medallist will swim in two events - the men's 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly - and will go up against the likes of Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh.


Along with South Sudan, Kosovo will be making its Olympic debut in Rio, after being accepted as a member of the IOC in December 2014.

Loundras, Demetrius

The Greek gymnast is the youngest confirmed Olympic medallist when he won a bronze at the 1896 Athens Games at age 10 years and 218 days. Loundras served in both World Wars and reached the rank of Rear Admiral in the Greek navy. He died in 1971, aged 85.


The legendary stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games, as well as the football final.


The Barcelona superstar (above) will be one of three over-aged players - the other two being Bayern Munich's Douglas Costa and Atletico Paranaense goalkeeper Weverton - in Brazil's Under-23 squad.

Despite winning a record five World Cups, Brazil have never won the Olympic men's football gold and finished second to Mexico four years ago in London.

Oscar Swahn

The late Swede shooter (above) was the oldest-ever Olympian, when he competed in his third Games in 1920 at the age of 72 years and 281 days.

He won a silver that year to add to his collection of three golds and two bronzes from the 1908 and 1912 Games. Swahn died in 1927, aged 79.

Phelps, Michael

American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, clinching 18 gold medals and 22 in total.

The 31-year-old retired after London 2012, but reversed his decision and will swim in three individual events - the men's 100m, and 200m fly and 200m individual medley - as well as in the relays.

Quah siblings

Swimmers Quah Ting Wen and Quah Zheng Wen represent a rare breed of Singaporean siblings to compete at the same Olympics.

Others to have done so include water polo brothers Tan Eng Liang and Tan Eng Bock at Melbourne 1956 and swimming siblings Oon Jin Teik and Oon Jin Gee at Los Angeles 1984.

Rowing, Saiyidah Aisyah

Saiyidah Aisyah, 28, will be the first Singaporean rower to compete in the Olympics.

Aisyah (above) will compete in the women's singles sculls after winning the B Final at the Asia and Oceania Continental Olympic Qualification Regatta in South Korea earlier this year.


The Republic will send its largest-ever sailing Olympic contingent, with 10 sailors competing in seven events.

Among them is Laser Standard sailor Colin Cheng, who was Asia's top finisher at the 2012 Games.


Unlike London 2012, ticket sales for the Rio Games have been slow, with organisers now allowing buyers from outside Brazil to purchase tickets at the same reduced prices as citizens, according to an Associated Press report.

Usain Bolt

Undoubtedly one of the biggest stars to shine in Rio, the Jamaican sprint king will be looking to add to his six Olympic titles in Brazil this month.

The 29-year-old suffered a Grade 1 tear in his hamstring at the Jamaica National Championships, but recovered in time to win the 200m race at the London Anniversary Games last month.


The late Lloyd Valberg (above), a high jumper, was the first athlete to compete in the Olympics under the Singapore banner in 1948, although four other Singaporeans represented China at the same Games in London.

Swimmer Joseph Schooling is Valberg's grand-nephew.

Wee Tian Siak

The basketball player (above) is Singapore's first double Olympian, having competed at the 1948 and 1956 Games.

The late Wee was picked to represent China in London in 1948, but donned Singapore colours for the 1956 Games in Melbourne.


Security at Games venues will be tight, given the high profile nature of the Olympics and the current global security climate.

Fans, athletes and officials alike are expected to go through strict checks, which include X-rays, before they enter competition venues.

Youth Olympians

Singapore's 2016 Olympic contingent will feature two Youth Olympians for the first time.

Windsurfer Audrey Yong, who won a bronze in the 2014 Nanjing Games, was offered an unused quota place, while shuttler Liang Xiaoyu, who also competed in the 2014 Games, qualified based on her world ranking.

Zika virus

Brazil has been hit with the virus, which spreads through infected Aedes mosquitoes, sex and childbirth, since May last year.

The virus is usually mild, but has proven fatal in some cases, and has been linked to birth defects and Guillian-Barre Syndrome, which affects the nervous system.

Games-bound Singapore athletes have been taking precautions - from vaccines to insect repellents.

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