There are plenty of storylines heading into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Everyone has their favorite event to watch, whether it be track and field, swimming, basketball, or any of the 306 events that will take place. Regardless of your sports preference there is one thing that everyone wants to see; records being broken. Nothing is more exciting than witnessing an athlete put forth the best effort in the history of their sport. Here are some Olympic and world records that could be set in Rio.
Most Men’s Boxing Medals
Hungarian legend Laszlo Papp has now held the record for most gold medals in men’s boxing for 60 years. Papp punched his way to three straight golds from 1948-56. To give some perspective on how long Laszlo has stood atop the Olympic boxing world, Elvis Presley first appeared on the charts in 1956 with his single, “Heartbreak Hotel.” Papp’s record pre-dates the King’s first hit!
Enter Chinese boxer Zou Shiming. Zou is aiming to take home Olympic gold in the Light flyweight division for the third consecutive time. Zou would not only tie Papp’s three gold medals, but he also would become the first with four total medals, as Zou won bronze in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. Boxing is not known as a sport built for lengthy careers, and Shiming competing across a span of four Olympiads is impressive to say the least. If he can bring home the gold once more, he will have Papp beat with an additional third-place finish.
Most Cycling Medals
Cycling has had an Olympic renaissance since the turn of the century. With popularity soaring at events like the Tour de France, and with the best cyclists in the world becoming celebrities like Lance Armstrong (until he was discredited by doping allegations), records have been dropping like flies. In Rio, Australia’s Anna Meares will attempt to break the women’s total medal record in the sport, while Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins needs just one more to claim the men’s mark as his own.
Meares needs two more medals to pass Netherland’s Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel total of six, and the Australian just so happens to be competing in two events in Rio. However, Meares is appearing in her fourth Olympic games, two more than it took Van Moorsel to accumulate her total. On the men’s side, Wiggins competed alongside fellow Brit, Chris Hoy, in each of the last three Olympics. Hoy is now retired, providing Wiggins with the opportunity to break their tie of seven total medals. Hoy can claim more gold medals (six to four), but Wiggins’ longevity could help him claim the title of the sport’s most decorated athlete by the conclusion of these Summer Games.
Women’s 5,000 Meters Olympic and World Record
The past three Olympic gold medalists in the 5,000 are Ethiopian athletes. Tirunesh Dibaba holds the world record of 14:11.15 set in 2008. The third- and fourth-best recorded times were both set in 2015 and are just 20 seconds below the current Olympic record time of 14:40.79 set by Romanian Gabriela Szabo. These times were set by a pair of Ethiopian women who are pushing each other to make Olympic history in Rio.
Almaz Ayana and Genzebe Dibaba are at the top of their game coming into these Olympics, and the competition between the two should make the Women’s 5,000 an event to watch. Dibaba may have additional motivation, which is to beat her sister and current world record-holder, Tirunesh Dibaba. One thing is for certain, chances are very good that an Ethiopian woman will win the 5,000 in Rio and make history in the process.
Women’s Hammer Throw Olympic and World Record
While the hammer throw may not be the most popular event in the Olympics, it may feature the biggest record-smashing performance of these Summer Games. Poland’s Anita Włodarczyk is the first woman to ever throw the hammer over 80 meters. She achieved this feat in Beijing in 2015 with a throw of 81.08 meters (266 feet).
In 2012, Włodarczyk finished a close second in the London Olympics to Russian Tatyana Lysenko. The winning throw, and current Olympic record, was 78.18 meters (256 feet). After falling short of gold in both 2008 and ’12, Włodarczyk will no doubt look to shatter the record to ensure her first trip to the top of the medal stand.
Most Men’s Basketball Medals
If you were under the impression that the United States men’s national basketball team dominated Olympic competition every four years, you are not wrong. However, a Russian basketball player named Gennadi Volnov is currently the most decorated individual in the sport. With a gold, two silvers and a bronze from four Olympics (1960-72), Volnov leads in this department.
However, that could change in Rio with Carmelo Anthony set to play in his fourth Olympics. After winning gold in London and Beijing and a bronze in Athens, any medal earned in Rio will tie Anthony with Volnov for the most in Olympic history. And while this technically would produce a tie instead of setting a new record, it could be argued that the American would have a better overall Olympic resume than the Russian based on the fact he has already have won two gold medals (and the U.S. team is considered the heavy favorite in Rio) compared to Volnov’s one. Either way, winning four medals is quite an accomplishment when you consider the time it takes to participate in four Olympiads while remaining at the top of your game.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)