Man with Brazil flag stands overlooking city of Rio

Ready for Rio: Two Sports Debuting at the Summer Games

The 2016 summer games will be held in Rio de Janeiro later this summer, and the torch is already winding its way through Brazil to arrive on time for the opening ceremonies on August 5. For the last four years, competitors have been honing their skills and preparing themselves, mentally and physically, to represent their home countries on the world’s stage.

Some have been waiting even longer than that for a shot at bringing home the gold, though. It’s not that these athletes haven’t been good enough to go – it’s that they haven’t been allowed to go. But the IOC (International Olympic Committee) has decided to shake things up this year, by announcing that two new sports will have their modern games debut in Rio. Let’s go inside each sport to see what we can expect this year.

QUICK FACTS: Reintroducing Golf to the Summer Games

Previously in the Games?

Yes, in 1904.

Why was it included?

It’s one of the most popular sports in the world, with 118 member countries in the International Golf Federation, over 60 million players worldwide, and almost 25 million golfers in the U.S. alone.

What can we expect?

Golf is back in the summer games for the first time in 112 years, when it was a male-only event. This year there will be both men’s and women’s individual competitions, where some of the top players from 34 countries will go toe-to-toe for the gold. The top 15 ranked players in the PGA and LPGA received automatic berths into the field of 60, so look for big names like Australian Jason Day (world No. 1), Americans Jordan Spieth and Lexi Thompson, and Rory McIlroy from Ireland to tear up the course at Barra da Tijuca this August. The format will be a 72-hole individual stroke play match, with any ties for medal positions being settled by play-offs.

QUICK FACTS: Reintroducing Rugby Sevens to the Summer Games

Previously in the Games?

Yes, in 1924 (standard format). Rugby Sevens is a brand-new format this year.

Why was it included?

The sport of Rugby is quite popular on the world stage, especially in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The 2015 Rugby World Cup was the second-most attended sporting event in the world behind the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with over 2.47 million tickets sold, and generated an excess of $365 million in revenue. However, professional leagues in France, Japan and the United States have grown significantly as well.

What can we expect?

Though traditional Rugby is played with 15 players, a faster, more exciting version called Rugby Sevens with (you guessed it) only 7 players has become popular recently. This particular format is one of the core sports that make up the Commonwealth Games. Though this sport has yet to fully catch on in Brazil, the country did win the South American Rugby Championship title in 2004. The format for both men’s and women’s competitions this year will be a 12-team tournament of matches consisting of two halves running seven minutes each. You can count on Deodoro Stadium to be rocking when the host country takes the field.

Outfit Yourself for the Pros

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