The Olympic Games in Rio will showcase close to 11,000 of the finest and most elite athletes from around the globe. Athletes that have returned to the Olympics for their second, third, fourth, even fifth time, newcomers who are being introduced to the Olympic stage, and athletes of all sizes, both small and large, looking to represent their country in their respective sports. Although there are amazing athletes of both the female and male gender, my favorite events to watch are always the women. It's incredible to see these graceful yet powerful athletes compete. They make every stride, stroke, push, hit, punch, leap, and step to perfection knowing that it is more than just a gold medal on the line, it is the history they will make in their respective sport. Below is a list of the six female performances to look forward to this Olympic Season.
1. Women's Gymnastics
This Women's Olympic Gymnastics team features two returners from London (Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman) who are also the all-around Olympic champion, and the gold medalist on floor respectively, among others such as Simone Biles (the three-time reining world champion) and Olympic newcomers Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian. This fantastic group should be very competitive with their competition. The only question left is who will compete in the all around finals? With so many qualified athletes it will be difficult to determine who will compete for gold.
2. Women's Swimming
2012 was Katie's Ledecky's first Olympic games at the age of 15 and she certainly made a name for herself. She won the 800 meter freestyle by over four seconds, just shy of a world record but breaking an American Record from 1989. Since London, Katie has been working on adding new events to her schedule in Rio such as the 400 and the 200 individual freestyle events as well as the 100 which she competed in the 4x100 relay already in the games placing second.
3. Women's Soccer
The US Women's soccer team features a line of extremely talented individuals such as Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Saunderbrunn just to name a few. The US is the reining World Cup Champion and are one of the favorites to win come finals, a back-to-back win (World Cup and Olympic Games) to make history as the first team to do so. The US is scheduled to play their next round on Tuesday, August 9 at 6 p.m. EST against Colombia.
4. Women's Beach Volleyball
This is Kerri Walsh Jennings' 5th Olympics competing each year since 2000 same as Michael Phelps. In each of the past four games she has competed with long-time partner Misty May-Treanor who retired after the 2012 London Olympics. Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens never losing a set and continued this winning stream in 2008 where they won gold again. In 2012 they continued their 32 consecutive win streak until ultimately losing a round to Australia but came back to win the gold after beating other American players April Ross and Jen Kessy. Now in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Walsh Jennings is back with previous American opponent April Ross hoping to make history once again by winning another gold medal. On Saturday August 6 the dynamic duo shutout Australia 2-0 and are set to compete against China on Monday August 8 and Switzerland on August 9.
5. Women's Fencing
Ibtihaj Muhammad is a 30 year old fencer from New Jersey. She is making history as the first Muslim athlete to compete wearing a hijab in the Olympics. She is a six-time World Championship team member ranked #2 in the United States.
6. Women's Track and Field
Although finishing third at trials, Sydney McLaughlin is the youngest Olympic track and field athlete since 1972. At trials she broke the American Junior record she recorded in June before trials also becoming the fastest youth 400m hurdler in history. She will be competing in the 400m hurdles again on August 15.