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History is happening in Rio: Olympic firsts to watch

Olympians born after 2000. A refugee team. Virtual reality. Here are a few ways Rio 2016 will make history.

When the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro get underway on Aug. 5, records will surely be broken. But while it’s still unclear which Olympic records will fall, we already know the 2016 Summer Games will make history. Here’s a look at a few Olympic “firsts” that will happen in Rio. 

First South American Olympics

When the 2016 Olympics were awarded to Rio de Janeiro in 2009, the International Olympic Committee made history: For the first time, the Summer Olympics would be hosted in South America. Rio was picked over Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo, which will host in 2020.

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First mother and son to compete at same Olympics

Nino Salukvadze and her son Tsotne Machavariani will become the first mother–son pair to compete at the same Olympics together. This will be Salukvadze's eighth Olympics: She first competed for the Soviet Union in 1988, and she followed that up by representing the Unified team in 1992 and Georgia at the 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She has won three medals, including a gold medal in the 25-meter sporting pistol at the 1988 Sumer Games. Machavariani will also compete in the shooting competition for Georgia.

First U.S. Olympians born after 2000

Team USA’s two youngest members were born after Y2K. Born on June 19, 2000, table tennis player Kanak Jha is the youngest member of the U.S. delegation. Gymnast Laurie Hernandez could win a medal in the all-around team competition with the U.S. and was born on June 9, 2000, making her the youngest female American Olympian.

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First set of triplets to compete at Olympics

Leila, Liina and Lily Luik of Estonia will become the first set of triplets to compete at the Olympics. They will run the Olympic marathon on Aug. 14 at 8:30 a.m. ET. Leila is the oldest and has the fastest personal best of 2:37.12. They are not likely to medal, but they're the only family that could fill the full podium. 

First Olympic refugee team

For the first time, a team of 10 refugee athletes will compete under the Olympic flag. The team will be comprised of two judokas from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an Ethiopian marathon runner, two Syrian swimmers and five runners from South Sudan. Read S.L. Price’s story for Sports Illustrated about the refugee team changing hearts and minds in Rio. 

First virtual reality broadcast

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NBC plans to have Virtual Reality (VR) coverage of the 2016 Olympics on Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The VR broadcasts will be tape delayed and begin on Aug. 6, which is one day after the Opening Ceremony. Viewers will be given a 360 degree look at sports, events and venues.