RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (NBC) – After all the talk and controversy and years of preparation, the eyes of the world will descend on Rio de Janeiro Friday night for the opening ceremony of the 31st Olympic Games.
NBC reporter Alicia Inns talked with members of Team USA about Friday night’s kick off to the games.
Skipping the opening ceremonies is a necessary sacrifice for some of the athletes.
It’s a big decision to walk or not to walk when walking might take hours, and these athletes have gold medals they’re trying to win.
Kanak Jha, on the Team USA Men’s Table Tennis team said, “I actually haven’t decided yet. If I go it’s going to be very hard to play the next day.”
It’s not all physical worries though. It’s also the location of Marcana Stadium that’s putting athletes between a rock and a hard place.
The most an athlete will travel from the Olympic Village to where they’re competing is about 20-25 minutes. The opening ceremony the next day is little different.
“Getting 10,000 athletes from a village all the way to the stadium and back, we’ll probably get home around 3:00 a.m. so it’s whether I can endure that physically,” said gold medal diver David Boudia.
While winning may be more important that walking, some say it’s also about the memories, and of course the uniforms.
“Embrace that moment for what it is. I’m never going to get something like that back again and hopefully just love that experience,” said Olympic Rugby Sevens team Nate Ebner.
“To be on TV. To wear the uniforms. That’s why they give out the uniforms or else you don’t have a chance to wear it,” said Yijun Feng, a member of the Team USA Men’s Table Tennis team.
Michael Phelps will be the flag bearer for Team USA Friday night, but this is actually his first time attending the opening ceremonies.
He’s competed at the last four Olympics, but his schedule has kept him from going to the big celebration because the swimming competition usually gets things going on day one.
The opening ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and you can watch it on 22News.