The 2016 Summer Olympics will officially kick off on Friday in Rio, Brazil, with the opening ceremony taking over the historic Maracana Stadium.
Trampoline gymnast Rosie MacLennan will carry the Canadian flag in the proceedings, representing 312 Canadian athletes across 174 events while doing so.
Friday’s ceremonies, which are set to start at 7 p.m., is expected to highlight Brazil’s diverse nature with music and dance.
Meantime, Friday will bring the first non-soccer events to Rio — with a series of archery events set to take place before the Games start in earnest on Saturday.
The opening weekend will be filled with both Canadian and London content — with four area athletes competing in the first two days of the competition.
On Saturday, Canada’s women’s basketball team, featuring London’s Miranda Ayim, will take on China to open their campaign at 1:15pm. London Central Secondary School’s Jessie Fleming and the women’s soccer team, who opened their tournament with a 2-0 win over Australia, will take on Zimbabwe on Saturday.
On Sunday, a pair of area athletes will hit the water for their appearance at an Olympic Games.
Thedford’s Tim Schrijver will row in the Men’s Four’s on Sunday. Schrijver, who was born in Strathroy, captured gold in the Men’s Four’s and Men’s Eight’s at the 2015 Pan Am Games.
In the pool, London-born Evan Van Moerkerke is set to compete in the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle on Sunday afternoon. The 22-year-old also medaled at the Toronto games, earning a silver in the event.
“You have to have a good connection between the guys — everyone has to get along, you have to be a close group of guys so when you dive in, you are willing to give 110% for yourself and your team,” Van Moerkerke told AM980’s Mike Stubbs, “Each one [of us] has to be dedicated to your race because, if you all run your best race, anything is possible.”
Van Moerkerke’s brother, Luke, played 36 games with the London Knights in the 2006-07 season.
All in all, around 18 athletes with ties to the London area are competing in Rio — including medal hopeful Damian Warner.
The 26-year-old decathlete is set to arrive in Brazil on Sunday to begin final preparations for his ten-event competition set for late in the games.
“At this point in my career, I’m looking forward to all the events, really,” Warner said, “This is probably the first time I can say I’m looking forward to competing in every single event. Even the 1500 [metre race], which kinda sounds crazy and I’ll probably regret saying this afterwards, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do.”
The first of Warner’s events will take place on Aug. 17.