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Gold Rush: Jordan Burroughs
5:32 | Olympics
Gold Rush: Jordan Burroughs
SI Staff
Wednesday August 3rd, 2016

After plenty of buildup and anticipation, the 2016 Rio Olympics open on Friday, Aug. 5, with most of the sports kicking off on Saturday, Aug. 6 (with the exception of women’s soccer, which starts group play on Wednesday, Aug. 3). But with the Olympics comes mostly sports that the average sports fan tunes into once every four years, so at SI.com, we have compiled a primer for every single sport contested in the coming weeks in Rio de Janeiro. Table tennis? Check. Handball? Check. Modern pentathlon? Check.

OLYMPIC MEDAL PREDICTIONS: Picking gold, silver and bronze for every event

Take a look each preview below for a brief overview of the sport and the major storylines, athletes you should watch and the gold-medal dates.

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    South Korea has historically dominated this sport, but the U.S. has the talent to push them.

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    A cheating scandal rocked the badminton tournament in London, forcing a number of rule changes for 2016.

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    The U.S. men's team is stacked, and anything but gold would be a shock for Team USA.

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    The U.S. women's basketball team has a 41-game Olympic winning streak and they don't plan on ending it anytime soon.

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    The USA vs. Brazil rivalry on the sand courts will come to a head on Copacabana Beach in Rio.

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    Historically, the U.S. is the undisputed heavyweight champion of Olympic boxing, but an American man hasn't won gold since 2004. Will this be the Games?

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    The Germans are the athletes to watch in these events, but several other nations, European and not, could paddle past them.  

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    Tour de France champion Chris Froome looks for another win, this time in the road race at the Rio Olympics.

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    China sweeping the diving gold medals isn't out of the question in Rio, but American David Boudia, chasing his second straight gold, could thwart that.

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    Equestrian is a sport that lends itself to longevity, and U.S.'s Beezie Madden, competing in her fourth Olympic Games at 52 years old, exemplifies that. 

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    The Italians have historically dominated fencing internationally, but Team USA comes with their strongest team yet.

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    The Netherlands are the favorites to win at the Rio Games, but the U.S. is hoping for their best showing yet.

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    Golf isn't guaranteed to be an Olympic sport after 2020, so the sport is ready to make a good first impression in Rio.

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    Kohei Uchimura can brand himself as the greatest men's gymnast ever with a gold-medal performance in Rio.

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    Simone Biles is rapidly on her way to claiming her crown of women's gymnastics, and could be the first woman to win five golds in one Games.

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    A European-dominated sport, some of the world's top athletes have naturalized to the Qatar team, so watch for that team to make a deep run.

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    The Japanese used to dominate the sport, but rule changes have caused the Olympic field to be more wide-open than ever.

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    Another sport forced to modernize, modern pentathlon added a knockout fencing round to up the pressure.

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    The Russians are looking to win their fifth-straight Olympic gold medals in the team and individual events in Rio.

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    The U.S. women's eight is going for their 10th straight international gold medal, and they don't expect to break that streak in Rio.

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    Rugby sevens makes its Olympic debut in Rio, giving the tiny country of Fiji an opportunity to win its first medal.

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    No matter the cleanliness of the water in Guanabara Bay or the stability of the docks, the sailing events will go on.

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    American Kim Rhode can make history by winning a medal in six straight Olympics (and five different continents).

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    It's gold medal or bust for Brazil, who will consider anything less as disappointing as their 2014 World Cup-final loss.

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    The U.S. women are attempting to pull off a unique double, winning Olympic gold a year after winning the World Cup.

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    In his final Olympics, the most decorated Olympian takes a victory lap and looks to add to his already packed trophy case.

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    Katie Ledecky is already an international phenom, but it's time for her to become a star.

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    The Russians have completely dominated this sport; can anyone beat them in the pool?

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    China has dominated the medal tables since table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988, and don't expect that to change in Rio.

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    Rules changes to help modernize the sport are allowing new athletes to rise to the top.

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    Can Novak Djokovic bounce back from his Wimbledon loss to win his first Olympic gold medal in Rio?

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    Keep an eye on Usain Bolt's final ride, Mo Farah's quest for history and a handful of potential star breakouts from Team USA.

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    Allyson Felix and Tori Bowie lead a deep U.S. team in Rio, where they'll face the likes of Dafne Schippers, Caster Semenya and Genzebe Dibaba.

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    China has been the trampoline favorites nearly every Olympics since the sport was added, but some strong competitors will put up a challenge.

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    Gwen Jorgensen is the best women's triathlete in the world right now, and she won't let a flat tire get in her way of an Olympic medal this time.

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    Just like on the beach, indoor volleyball at the Rio Olympics will likely come down to a Brazil vs. USA final.

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    The Australian team will be the toughest competition for the U.S. in their quest for double gold.

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    With the entire Russian weightlifting team banned from the Olympics, a number of new athletes could reach the podium.

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    A modernized version of wrestling makes its debut at the Rio Games. Will it be enough to keep the sport on the Olympics docket beyond 2024?

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