Stars about to dominate Olympic playground

5:31 am on 6 August 2016

Sports Call - The stars are about to come out in Rio as the best sports people in the world descend on the Brazilian City for the Olympic Games.

Every four years a number of new athletes hit the headlines and become the talk in the world of sport.

However, a number of familiar names are expected to lead the way once again.

Usain Bolt wins 200m gold at 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Usain Bolt wins 200m gold at 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt attracted a fair share of the spotlight in the past two Olympics and there is no reason to think that will change this time.

The six-time gold medalist will attempt to win his third consecutive 100m individual, 200m individual and the 4x100m relay.

The "Lightning Bolt" has had some injury issues in recent times and the fans are expecting him to win, but the 19-year-old said he was not feeling the pressure.

"People look at it as pressure, but because I want it for myself and if you want something as badly as everyone else wants it, then it's not really pressure, because you're both wanting the same thing."

"People want me to win, want me to break records, which is what I want to do so I look at it as a goal for myself and I'm going to go out there and reach that goal."

Also at the main stadium, our very own Valerie Adams chases her third straight title in the shot put, and watch out for Ethiopian middle distance star Genzebe Dibaba, South African 400m runner Wayde van Niekerk and Dutch woman Dafne Schippers who will challenge the Americans in the sprints.

Lydia Ko is another of our very own stars.

She is the world number one ranked golfer and the favourite for gold.

As soon as the 19-year-old heard golf was to be included in 2016 in Brazil, she knew she wanted to be there.

"I feel so fortunate that we are getting this opportunity at the Olympics, it's taken a lot to get here and playing for your country is a big part of it and being in that team area when you are really proud to be there."

Ko will be part of a strong women's field in Rio, but it is not the same for the men with a number of top players deciding not to attend for various reasons.

It appears for many golfers that the Olympics does not hold the same appeal as a major tournament.

Only eight of the men's top 25 players will be in Rio.

That was possibly the case for tennis when it rejoined as a full sport in 1988 but that attitude has changed, with most of the top players attending Rio.

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray said he had grasped the significance of the games.

This will be his third Olympics and he will attempt to defend the singles title he won in London.

Andy Murray poses with the winner's trophy after victory over Canada's Milos Raonic.

Andy Murray poses with the winner's trophy after victory over Canada's Milos Raonic. Photo: AFP

The Scot said the Olympics was something special.

"In my opinion it's much better being involved in an Olympics compared to a Grand Slam as you get to be in the same place as all of the best athletes in the world."

"You're part of something special in sport as all of the countries come together for something greater than just a tennis tournament and so I think that is why the Olympics has become special for tennis players."

Meanwhile, American tennis player Serena Williams will be hoping to add to her Olympic haul that currently stands at four gold medals.

She will compete in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

The Americans should again dominate the medals in the pool - US swimmers won 31 medals in London including 16 gold.

Their team contains many of the greats including 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, who is attending his fifth Olympics.

There is also Missy Franklin, who as a 17-year-old won four gold medals in London.

Katie Ledecky celebrates gold and a world record in the Women's 1500m freestyle final, Russia, 2015.

Katie Ledecky celebrates gold and a world record in the Women's 1500m freestyle final, Russia, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

While New Zealand's Lauren Boyle will come up against perhaps the most dominant swimmer of the moment, 19-year-old Katie Ledecky, the current world record holder in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle.

Ledecky said now was the time to prove your place.

"I feel like I'm still learning a lot but I think I have to enjoy every minute of the experience as the Olympics is unlike any other meet."

"You need to enjoy it, not get too nervous, you've got this far so it's your time to shine."

Elsewhere, cyclist Bradley Wiggins is just one medal short of becoming Britain's most decorated Olympian.

He has so far won seven Olympic medals and will ride on the track in his fifth games.

A number of NBA stars will line-up on the basketball court and because it is Brazil, football is going to be a highlight for many with some of the games biggest names sprinkled within the teams including Barcelona star Neymar in the home side.

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