With the 2016 Summer Olympics approaching, countries all around the world are desperately trying to qualify for different Olympic events. Egypt, home of the Panther Express, is lucky enough to have already qualified for a couple of events. Three Egyptian taekwondo players have qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro. They are Seham El Sawalha, Ghofran Zaki, and Hedaya Malak. The Egyptian National Fencing team has also officially qualified for the Olympics. Alaaeldin Aboulkassem, one of the fencers who will represent Egypt, has already won two gold medals for his victories at the Pan Arab Games, and is one of the favorites for the gold medal this year. An Egyptian synchronized swimming team will also be competing in this year’s Olympics, along with 6 men and 3 women for weightlifting. Other events that Egyptian teams have qualified for include swimming, volleyball, and shooting. Overall, Egypt has a large chance of winning medals across various different events this year. To date, Egyptian athletes have won a total of 26 Olympic medals. The sports in which the medals were awarded are as follows: weightlifting, wrestling, boxing, diving, judo, fencing, and taekwondo.

This year, the Summer Olympics will be taking place in the vibrant, scenic city of Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro, located on the tropical Atlantic Ocean, is the second largest city in Brazil. The Games are scheduled to begin on August 5th and end on August 21st. As great as the Olympics in Rio seems to be, things haven’t been going as smoothly as planned. Many teams have reportedly been backing out due to word of the harmful Zika virus. The United States Olympic Committee is telling teams that are concerned for their health over the Zika virus to consider ‘missing out’ on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. On a slightly more positive note, the official organizers are following specific guidelines set by the World Health Organization to ensure safety and prevention amongst all participants and audience members. The Zika virus only poses serious and immediate threats to pregnant women, and is easily treatable.

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There have been a confirmed 10,500 athletes participating in the Summer Olympics in Rio this year. All of these athletes come from over 150 different countries. Personally, I believe that the best part about the Olympics in general is that so many countries come together for some whole-hearted, energetic fun. The Olympic Games have been going on for hundreds of years, and have become a much-anticipated global tradition. Just for a country to be represented by athletes in the Olympics is a huge honour, and one must remember that winning isn’t everything. The world’s best and most illustrious athletes will all be competing against one another for 19 days, and the entire world will be tuned in, watching anxiously and excitedly.

Here at The American International School of Egypt, we wish all the participants from across the world the best, and are eagerly awaiting the beginning of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games!

By Amina Shindy