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Home / Entertainment / When does the Rio Olympics 2016 start and when can I watch the Opening Ceremony and main events?

When does the Rio Olympics 2016 start and when can I watch the Opening Ceremony and main events?

Who can believe that four years have passed since London 2012 and now the opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics is just a couple of days away.

It will be the first time a South American nation has hosted the Olympics since the modern games began in 1896.

More than 10,000 athletes will compete across 28 Olympic sports for the 306 sets of medals on offer and there are many Welsh hopefuls among them.

But when does it start and when are the main events that we can tune into?

Watch: Welsh Olympic hopeful Becky James stars with Bradley Wiggins and Jack Whitehall in new Samsung ad



Becky James and Bradley Wiggins star alongside Jack Whitehall in new Samsung ad



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When is the opening ceremony?

The Opening Ceremony kicks off at Rio’s Maracana Stadium on August 5 at 8pm local time. That means a late night for those watching in the UK as Rio is four hours behind.

Tune into BBC1 at 8.30pm for Olympics 2016: Countdown to Rio. Coverage of the opening ceremony will begin on the channel at 11.40pm.

Who’s behind it?

The director of City of God (2002), Fernando Meirelles, has been put in charge of the opening show. Meirelles has reportedly been given a budget one-tenth the size of London’s for their opening ceremony four years ago, but said he would compensate with “creativity, rhythm and emotion”.

More than 6,000 volunteers are taking part and rehearsals have been taking place for almost three months.

After the show, athletes from 207 countries will take part in the Parade of Nations through the stadium. Team GB will be the 76th nation in the parade.

Remember this? The glorious opening ceremony for London 2012

What about the Games themselves, who will I know from Team GB?

Distance runner Mo Farah, diver Tom Daley and track and field athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill are just some of the famous faces in Team GB.

But there are a total of 366 athletes competing for Great Britain and Northern Ireland that we can cheer on.

Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Jessica Ennis-Hill
Jessica Ennis-Hill

Any Welsh athletes?

We have 24 athletes hoping to bring home Olympic medals – Wales’ biggest contingent for an overseas Olympic Games.

They include Jade Jones (Taekwondo), who was Wales’ only individual medallist in 2012, sailor Hannah Mills, cyclists Becky James and Geraint Thomas and swimmer Jazz Carlin.

It is the first time that Welsh females have outnumbered males in selection for the Games. Wales’ youngest athlete is swim star Chloe Tutton who turned 20 in July. Our oldest athlete competing is shooter Elena Allen who was 44 last month.

Clint Hughes/Getty Images
Jade Jones

When are the main events?

Most of the unmissable action takes place in the athletic events, which begin from Friday, August 12.

Because of the time difference though, you will probably have to stay awake into the small hours to catch Usain Bolt and co.

The men’s 10,000m final, likely to feature Mo Farah, will be at 1.55am on Sunday, August 14.

You’ll have to stay up even later to see the men’s 100m final at 2.25am on Monday, August 15.

Diving is also popular, and can be seen most days throughout the Games.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Athletes of Great Britain Womans Rugby team at the Olympic Village ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 2, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Athletes of Great Britain Womans Rugby team at the Olympic Village in Rio

Anything else I need to know?

This year’s games have already seen a fair share of controversy. After the outbreak of the Zika virus in South America, there has been more than 1,800 cases of microcephaly, in which a baby is born with an extremely small head. Golfer Rory McIlroy is one of those who have decided not to take any risks and will not be at Rio.

What about Russia?

Well, then there’s the Russian doping scandal. After evidence of state-sponsored doping was uncovered, the International Olympics Committee decided not to ban all Russian competitors.

Instead each sporting federation has decided who should be allowed to compete on an individual basis.

And when does the whole thing finish?

The closing ceremony in the Maracana Stadium will take place on Sunday, August 21, at 11.15pm UK time.

This will mark the handover to Tokyo ahead of the next Games in Japan in 2020.

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