THE 2016 Summer Olympics or the Rio 2016 officially opened last week with a colorful and lively opening ceremony at the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Most of us will be watching the different sporting events on our respective television screens or through video streaming websites on the internet. However, one of the aspects that we do not get to see is what the athletes are doing after and before their event. Here are some Olympic athletes that you might want to follow.
Ian N. Lariba (@yannasiyan)
Table Tennis | Philippines
Cagayan de Oro-born Table tennis player Lariba is one of the 13 Filipino athletes who is competing in Rio 2016. She is the first Filipino table tennis player to qualify in the Olympics. The La Salle varsity player was also Philippines’ flag bearer during the parade of nations during the opening ceremony.
Pita Taufatofua (@pita_tofua)
Taekwondo | Tonga
Taufatofua is Tonga’s first Taekwondo practitioner to ever compete in the Olympics. During the opening ceremony, where he was Tonga’s flag bearer, he only wore a ta’ovala (a Tongan mat) wrapped around his waist and was oiled up. His shirtless appearance went viral over the internet.
Ibtihaj Muhammad (@ibtihajmuhammad)
Fencing | USA
Muhammad is the first Muslim woman who wears a hijab to qualify for the United States Olympic Team. At present, the fencer currently ranks No. 2 on the national fencing team of USA and ranks no. 8 in the world. Another cool fact about her is she owns a clothing company named Louella (@LouellaShop), which focus in the “modest fashion industry.”
Blair Tuke (@blairtuke) and Peter Burling (@peteburling)
Sailing | New Zealand
Tuke and his fellow sailor Peter Burling were both the flag bearers of New Zealand. They caught the attention of the internet when they lead the Kiwi athletes while wearing a kakahu (cloak) over their opening ceremony uniforms. They looked epic by the way. Both competed in the 2012 London Olympics in the 49er class winning the silver medal.
Gabby Douglas (@gabbycvdouglas)
Gymnastics | USA
At a very young age of 20, Douglas became the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual and all-around and team competitions for gymnastics during the 2012 London Olympics. In December 2012, she was also named as Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.
Rami Anis (@anis_rami)
Swimming |Refugee Olympic Team (ROT)
The road to the Olympics was tough for the Syrian Swimmer. In 2011, he left his hometown, Aleppo, when bombings and kidnappings were escalating. He was sent to be with his older brother in Instanbul. He then left Instanbul on an inflatable dinghy and made his way to Belgium where he was granted asylum. He is truly an inspiration as the problems and trials he faced did not stop him from achieving his desire to compete in the Olympics.
You can read more about his inspiring story, together with other members of the ROT onwww.rio2016.com.
This article was published in the Sun.Star Davao on August 11, 2016.