Thursday, 4 August 2016



As the world tees up for arguably the biggest sporting fiesta this year -- RIO 2016, every participating Nation is hoping its athletes would create magic and deliver some world class performances that would place their Nation on the map of Olympic winners.
But for many, the Road To Rio has been anything but straight :


The Nigerian Olympics team left for the Rio amidst claims of unavailability of funds to fly to team to Rio. This claim was quickly rebutted by the NOC, only another claim to resurface that Mikel Obi had supported to team with a donation of $30,000. Again, the NOC rebutted this quickly. Then again, young Mikel Obi ended up being the captain of the entire Olympic Team (27 athletes in 8 events) which had Olympic veterans like Table Tennis star Funke Oshonaike , who will be competing in her 6th Olympic. and sprint-star like Blessing Okagbare her second.
And then the team from Nigeria finally departed for RIO with the President of the Nigerian Wrestling federation declaring that the Nation should not expect any medals from the wrestling team, since members of the team were not allowed to travel with their training partners .

They left without their allowances. But of course we know Nigeria is a unique country: Soon after the kick-off of the games on the 5th of August 2016, a high powered delegation, from either the Sports Ministry or the legislature would hit Rio taking along every possible appendage (wives, girlfriends, children) , ostensibly to deliver athletes' allowances and support the team, a jamboree that's likely to cost the Nation far more than the meagre stipends the athletes are entitled to. Interestingly the team left with NO CONDOMS. Nigeria's Olympic soccer Team (rumors had it ) however, could not leave their base in the US for RIO on Tuesday 2nd August 2016 because their flight fares had not been paid.

Team India seems to be the most feted delegation on its way to RIO 216 this year. With high powered support from Indians across the spectrum, and equally high powered government support, Team India left for Rio on a high. Luckily for Team India, the government increased the daily allowance for each Team member from $50 to $ 100, the highest ever for Team India.


Top of the cherry tree, enjoying  the ripest , juiciest pickings is TEAM USA. No doubt athletes have to go through grueling training and competitions just to be part of team USA but with a $10,000 pocket money awaiting each athlete who makes the track and field category, and $ 5,000 for each gymnast who makes the team, many athletes are more than willing to risk breaking a limb or a vertebra just to make the team.

But team USA has even bigger incentives to go for medals. Gold medalists look forward to a pretty pot of $25,000 to take home, Silver medalists - $15,000 and Bronze medalists $ 10,000. This is a bigger incentive to perform than the Presidential handshake which athletes from some other countries are likely to get for all their efforts . The biggest incentive however is the prospect of millions of dollars in endorsement deals from top brands in America.

Azerbaijan: This Asian country which was annexed by the USSR for long periods of its existence doles out about the highest bonus to any of its athletes who wins a medal at the Olympics. The government awards a crazy $510,000 dollars to gold medalists, $225,000 for silver medalists and $ 130,000 for bronze medalists.


Team China may likely be the best prepared team from Asia having hit their Esporte Club Pinheiros, Sao Paulo Training camp since 22nd July, 2016 with a team strength of 411 consisting of athletes, coaches, supporting staff and officials.
The Chinese delegation will present athletes in 16 sporting areas. But getting to Rio was not free of internal frights either:

About a week before the contingent headed for Sao Paulo, China's star swimmer and world champion, Ning Zetao had a brush with the officials over the signing of a personal sponsorship deal with a dairy brand which was a rival to the National Teams dairy brand sponsors. Officials did not reveal how the matter was resolved but Ning said : "I feel honoured to be part of China's Olympic delegation..." during the unveiling of Team China on Monday 18th July in Beijing.
Although the prospect of million dollar endorsement is not as high for Team China as it is for Team USA, nonetheless Gold medalists from Team China also have a handsome $31,400 to pocket for their troubles.

Team Russia has had perhaps the biggest headaches preceding RIO 2016 with the ban of its athletes based on doping allegations. The saga went from threat of a total ban, a partial ban and finally settled on a selective ban. Finally IOC decided that only athletes who could prove they were clean would be allowed to participate.

Today Team Russia's 387 strong contingent has been pruned down to 270 in the biggest doping related sanctions in the history of the Olympics. The team is still awaiting final clearance to head for Rio. Inspite of this however, Russian gold medal prospects still look forward to a heart-gladdening $130,000 pocket comfort for all their headaches.

The Real Thrill of Rio 2016 may however be the record breaking 450,000 condoms that will make their appearance in Rio [350,000 male and 100,000 female condoms] each seeking to offer pleasure and protection to at least one of the 10,500 'sex-machines' ( approximately 42 condoms per athlete), scheduled to grace the 33 venues in Rio with their performance. Interestingly, these condoms (produced in Australia by Starpharm Holdings and Ansell Ltd.) have been designed to offer protection against the dreaded ZIKA virus.

With 17 days of intense sports activity and competition at high levels, and a background thought in each athletes mind that he/she's got at least 2 condoms to utilize per day in the carnival capital of the world, with an amazing number of cooooool Samba dames and 'swaggalicious' Samba boys to hook up with, RIO 2016 is bound to produce excitement , histories and records breakers beyond the very limited field of vision of on-field spectators and big screen audiences .

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