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Olympics: Russia vs America!

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It is Russia versus the USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics

The Rio 2016 Olympics has been a very controversial one already. There have been massive protests in Brazil against the government even as the games carry on. In fact, the IOC was very close to imposing a blanket ban on Russian athletes because of doping charges, and it was only at the last minute that 271 of 389 Russian athletes were allowed to participate.

Russia has been accused of having a state-sponsored doping regime. So among the Russian athletes, weightlifters, track and fielders are banned, as are many swimmers, rowers, cyclists and canoeists. The other athletes get to participate. Also, 8 athletes’ cases are being heard and they could be allowed to participate after an appeal.

What does this mean for the great rivalry between the United States and Russia? Many of Russia’s greatest athletes such as Yelena Isinbayeva, the women’s pole-vaulting gold medalist of London Olympics, and Sergey Shubenkov, the world champion in the 110-meter hurdles, will not be allowed to participate. This means Americans are almost sure to win these events.

Let’s look at the various competitions and analyze the battle between Americans and Russians and predict who is likely to come on top.

Women’s gymnastics: Women’s gymnastics will be hotly contested with Russian and American gymnasts competing for gold in balance beam, bars, vault, and floor. American Simone Biles is the favorite to win in artistic gymnastics, with Russia’s Angelina Melnikova being her closest competitor. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina is the favorite for uneven bars in London, and her biggest competition comes from her own teammate Daria Spiridonova. 19-year-old Madison Kocian is America’s best bet on bars.

Women’s long jump: Russian long jumper Darya Klishina is the only Russian track and field athlete cleared for the Olympics. She was cleared as she trains in the USA, not in Russia. Her biggest competition comes from Americans Brittney Reese or Tianna Bartoletta, who are both formidable athletes.

Darya told the media after being cleared to compete, “To be honest, things were much more peaceful before today’s situation. I would be happy if all of us had been allowed to compete. But now I am under pressure and heightened attention, which is not always affirmative and positive. So, currently, the situation for me is much worse than it was yesterday.”

Men’s wrestling: The US has always had some great wrestlers such as Rulon Gardner, who beat Russia’s super-heavyweight champion Aleksandr Karelin at the 2000 Sydney Games. This year, America’s best bet is 19-year-old Kyle Snyder who will take on Russia’s Anzor Boltukaev in the 97-kilogram freestyle for gold.

The contest between American Jordan Burroughs and Russia’s Aniuar Geduev for the 74-kilogram final should be interesting as well. American Missy Franklin is congratulated by Russias Anastasia Zueva after winning gold in the womens 200-meter backstroke final at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Women’s swimming: Russia’s Yuliya Efimova would be a great competition for America’s Lilly King in the 100-meter breaststroke provided she is allowed to compete. Her case is still under appeal.

Men’s boxing: Boxing should be exciting as American Shakur Stevenson will take on Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin. Anybody can win this.

Women’s fencing: Russia’s sabre team will be a tough competition for Team USA. Russia’s two-time World Fencing Championships winner Sofya Velikaya is a formidable competitor.

Author: Raghav Hegde – India
sourcephoto: cnn


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