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Olympic Dreams Come to Life in Rio

For the first time in history, South America will play host to the Olympic Games, which take place Aug 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro.

For the first time in history, South America will play host to the Olympic Games, which take place Aug 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro.

The Olympic flame will glow for only 16 days.

Of course, the journey to become an Olympian is a years-long process.

“Rio means that my dreams from a young girl were not crazy,” says 32-year-old and previous two-time Olympian track and field medalist Dawn Harper-Nelson. “It means my love for this sport has not been in vain.”

From Aug. 5-21, some 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries will converge on picturesque Rio de Janeiro for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad with dreams of winning gold at arguably the world’s greatest sporting event.

Sixteen days almost assuredly will fly right by, so enjoy the Games while they’re here.

Because who knows when you might witness that defining Summer Games moment.

At some point, it’s bound to happen. Someone will take your breath away, like Usain Bolt’s Olympic record of 9.68 seconds in the 100 meters at London or the eight gold medals won by Michael Phelps in Beijing.

Or someone might capture your heart. Who can forget Kerri Strug being carried off to the podium after she nailed her vault routine on a badly injured ankle to clinch all-around gold for the women’s gymnastics team at Atlanta in 1996?

Even if you don’t witness that special moment, that’s OK. But do take part in the Olympic experience because there’s a decent chance that you might be neighbors with some of the competitors.

Many of our Olympians live and train full-time at the Olympic Training Center near downtown Colorado Springs. The center has support facilities for nine sports and provides a state-of-the-art sports medicine and sport science center, as well as an athlete center featuring a dining hall and multiple residence halls.

One of those residents, 25-year-old Adeline Gray, a Denver native, will make her Olympics debut in Rio in the 75-kg weight class.

“I don’t know how to put into words how much I wanted this,” Gray said. “To be able to call myself an Olympian means so much to me. I get to call myself an Olympian forever. It’s an amazing feeling.”

That feeling is echoed throughout the contingent of athletes who will compete in Rio.

Those dreams certainly go back to a time when they witnessed Olympic moments on TV, then daydreamed about theirs while humming the Olympic theme.

Now, those daydreams are becoming reality.

“This is what I’ve been pointing to my whole career, basically,” says American runner Galen Rupp, who qualified for his second Olympics after winning the Marathon Trials earlier this year in Los Angeles. “I remember my sophomore year in high school. I had a great season, and my coach (Alberto Salazar) sat me down and laid out his plan pretty much for the rest of my career. I remember that conversation. It’s crazy to think that was 14 years ago. It’s about all the hard work that went into it. Now that time is here.”

Let the Games begin.  

Watching the Rio Games

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be the eighth consecutive summer Games to be broadcast on NBC and the NBC Universal family of networks, in addition to being streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports Live Extra.

NBC television coverage will begin with the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5, with primetime coverage on NBC continuing through Aug. 21. Bob Costas returns to host primetime coverage on NBC, with Ryan Seacrest hosting NBC’s late-night coverage.

A wide array of NBC Universal networks will host extensive Olympic coverage throughout the Games. Full details and channel listings will be released and available on NBCOlympics.com closer to the start of the Olympics.

Go Downtown to Celebrate the Opening Ceremonies in a Big Way

Even if you can’t escape to Rio, how about Rio coming to you? Plus, you probably don’t have a 27-foot television, anyway.

Once again, downtown Colorado Springs will usher in the Summer Games in style with the Rio Olympic Downtown Celebration on Aug. 5 from 5-10 p.m.

Of course, the highlight is a live broadcast of the opening ceremonies on a larger-than-live projection screen.

Carnival-themed and featuring samba dancers, capoeira (Brazilian fight/dance), circus performers and drummers – and more – it’s the closest you’ll get to the Games without having to worry about mosquito bites.

The city-wide event is free and open to the public.