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The Rockaway Times
2016 Summer Olympics
By Pat Morgan
The Olympics doesn't have
the same impact it did when
we only had seven television
stations and the stage was a
proxy conflict between Cold
War superpowers.
The 2016 Summer Olym-
pics, officially known as the
Games of the XXXI Olympi-
ad, but commonly known as
Rio, is mired in controversy:
The Zika scare causing top
athletes to boycott, a Brazil-
ian economy that has deteri-
orated since it was selected
to host in its 2009 econom-
ic heyday, its current eco-
nomic instability, doping by
the Russians, drug-resist-
ant “super bacteria” found
in Rio’s polluted water that
may interfere with a num-
ber of sports, plus security
concerns about protecting
athletes and fans. Organi-
zations have even called for
the games to be cancelled.
There are plenty of reasons
NOT to watch these games.
Regardless of these detri-
ments, our country is still
sending our young women
and men there to partici-
pate. After years of prepara-
tion and countless hours of
training, these athletes are
competing to achieve their
dream - standing proudly on
the podium, with a medal
(preferably gold) displayed
prominently on their chest
while listening to an instru-
mental version of our na-
tional anthem. If watching
that doesn't raise the hairs
on the back of your neck,
nothing else will.
We must not forget that the
event has a history of trage-
dy and controversy, which
dates back as far as 1908:
The 1936 Olympics in Ger-
many where Hitler sought to
exploit the games for prop-
aganda purposes, the 1972
games in Munich where Pal-
estinian terrorists murdered
11 Israeli athletes, coaches
and judges, the 1980 US boy-
cott of the Moscow Summer
games and the 1984 recip-
rocation where the former
Soviet Union boycotted the
Los Angeles games.
Despite the checkered his-
tory and current situation,
we must see the positive. We
need to support our young
men and women by watch-
ing these games. It's tough
during the summer because
of time spent on the beach or
boardwalk, out-of-town va-
cations and travelling. But if
there is a will, there is a way.
Everyone has either cable or
satellite service that come
with DVR boxes. Most peo-
ple have smart phones and
NBC has an app where you
can watch on their smart-
phone or tablet (the app is
available for free at your re-
spective download store).
NBC also has it streaming
live on their website, nbc.
com. For all of you “techies,”
NBC will be broadcasting
85 hours of it in 360-degree
virtual reality to owners of
Samsung smartphones who
also have compatible Sam-
sung Gear VR headsets.
So, there is a lot to get ex-
cited about. There are over
10,000 elite athletes rep-
competing in 42 Olympic
sports. Longtime favorite
events such as swimming,
gymnastics, track and field,
beach volleyball and soccer
are joined by new additions
like golf and rugby sevens,
which are making its Olym-
pic returns. There are the
more famous athletes, like
Michael Phelps returning
for a record fifth Olympics,
Gymnast Gabby Douglas,
one of the “Fierce Five” from
the 2012 London Olympics
and the Men’s National
Basketball Team, that looks
like an NBA All-Star roster.
Then there are the “break-
out stars” such as track and
field prodigy, Trayvon Bro-
mell and gymnast Simone
Biles. If it wasn’t for her
recent appendicitis, local
runner Kerri Gallagher may
have been going to Rio, but
Rockapulco Run regular and
1500-meter champ, Matt
Centrowitz, will be making
his return to the big games
with the US Track team.
We should use this an op-
portunity to spend time
with our children or grand-
children or with our friends
and family. No one collects
stamps or coins anymore,
which for many in my gen-
eration allowed us to dis-
cover where places like
Upper Volta were. This is
an opportunity for the kids
to learn about the world as
well as new and different
sports. Perhaps one day we
can write an article in the
Rockaway Times about a lo-
cal athlete's experience of
winning a gold medal.
The Rio Olympic Games
2016 begins on Friday, Au-
gust 5 and ends on Sun-
day, August 21. The full
television schedule can be
found at
By the way, the Rio 2016
Paralympic Games start on
September 7 and end on
September 18. Yet another
good cause to support.