Athletes have looked forward to the 2016Summer Olympic Games for a long time, and the games are finally about to begin.

The event officially starts with the opening ceremony with 6,000 volunteers performing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday night, August 5, at the Maracana Stadium where 78,000 people are expected to attend, and millions more will watch on television.

Brazil's culture will be showcased through the singing, dancing, poetry reading, speeches, thelighting of the Olympic flame, and the long procession of athletesfrom 206 nations in alphabetical order. As usual, Americans have to wait a long time to see the United States athletes.

Brazil's preparation

This is the first time a South American country has gotten the chance to host the games. Brazil worked five years and spent approximately400,000 hours preparing for the opening ceremony.

This does not include many hours for other preparations. It is no secret that viewers have been warned not to expect the opening ceremony to measure up to opening ceremonies in the past because of Brazil's low budget.

Besides, Brazil is not a grand nation like the hosts of other Olympics. That did keep the nation to win the bid in 2009, beating out Madrid, Tokyo, and Chicago.

Things for viewers to know

NBC plans to show 2,084 hours of coverage over 11 channels during the 17 days of the Olympics.

The opening ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on August 5. The closing ceremony is on August 21.It is interesting that some of the games began on August 3, two days ahead of the opening ceremony.

About 85,000 soldiers and policemen will be on the security team at the Olympics. That is the largest number of securitypersonnel at any event in Brazil's history and twice as many as were at the London 2012 Olympics.

About the athletes

More than 11,000 athletes from 206 nations are expected to compete in 306 events in 28 Olympic sports and 41 disciplines. The events will take place at 33 venues in Rio and at five venues in other cities in Brazil.

The threat of the Zika virus is keeping some athletesfrom Rio even though precautions are in place for everybody's safety.

Even so, 554 athletes from the United States will attend and participate.

That number is close to the 556 athletes who participated in the 2012 Olympics. As usual, Team USA has more than any other country. The host country has only 465 participants.

Before participating in his sport, Michael Phelps will carry the American flag during the opening ceremony.

He is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. He has won a total of 22 medals with the intention of winning more during his swimming competitions.

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