The 2016 Olympics have been formally opened with a colourful ceremony at Rio's Maracana stadium in Brazil.
This is the first times the Games are being held in South America.
|Let the Games begin. (Reuters)|
Here's a look at the stars who will light up this year's Olympics:
Katie Ledecky (USA)
There are many great contenders in the swimming pool this Olympics, including Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, Federica Pellegrini and Sun Yang.
But all eyes will be on American freestyle sensation Katie Ledecky, whose pace is such that she is known to have outraced even men during practice sessions.
|Katie Ledecky (USA).|
After winning a gold at the London Games in the 800-metre freestyle, the 19-year-old comes to Rio looking for more.
She will be a favourite in 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle, and may also feature in the team relay events.
Simone Biles (USA)
United States has another 19-year-old at the top of her game.
The gymnast is unbeaten in the last three all-round world titles and is so far ahead of the game that she has a unique move only she can pull of. It is rightly named after her - The Biles.
|Simone Biles (USA).|
Such is the teen’s reputation – she has already made history as the winner of most gold medals at the World Championships – that she is expected to return from Rio with at least five gold medals.
It’s a tall order for the 4-feet 9-inch gymnast, but if someone can do, it is Biles.
Usain Bolt (Jamica)
That Bolt is one of the best to have raced on planet Earth is undeniable. But the Jamaican sprinter is chasing a record – win his third straight 100m and 200m gold – that will further cement his name in the pantheon of GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).
|Usain Bolt (Jamica).|
That he comes after recovering from a hamstring injury makes the quest even more thrilling.
And who doesn’t love Bolt’s antics on the track and field.
Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
Lionel Messi is one of the greatest footballers ever, but for many, he isn’t a GOAT until he wins the World Cup with Argentina.
Similarly Malaysian shuttler Lee Chong Wei is one of the most decorated players in the sport, except that he is still missing the Olympic gold.
On two ocassions, he has lost to his formidable foe, Chinese star Lin Dan, in the finals.
While the latter’s career is fading, Wei is still a contender giving his younger peers a run for their money.
|Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia).|
A gold medal will see the 33-year-old end his remarkable career on a high.
Kohei Uchimura (Japan)
The Japanese contingent will be cheering the loudest for their popular gymnast, Kohei Uchimura.
|Kohei Uchimura (Japan).|
At 27, the six-time all-around world champion and five-time Olympic medallist, including a gold medal in London, is at the peak of his career, and possibly competing in his last Olympics.
Having said that, given the next Olympics unfold in Tokyo, Uchimura may just have to return for the last hurrah.
Russian synchronised swimming and rhythmic gymnastics teams
Russia hasn’t had the greatest start to the Rio Games with their contingent being cut down because of the doping scandal.
But if there are sports in which Russia’s dominance cannot be challenged, it is in the women-only disciplines of synchronised swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.
|Russian synchronised swimming: A sight to behold.|
The Russians’ ability to do go underwater and pull off both grace and technique, and on the floor to execute tricks and bend their bodies with ease is always a sight to behold.
South Korea’s archery contingent
If there’s one gold medal that may as well be handed in advance, it is in the women’s archery team event to South Korea – they are unbeaten in the event since its debut at the 1988 Seoul Games.
This time, the country’s precision in hitting the target, and consistency are in the trusted hands (and eyes) of Choi Mi-Sun, Chang Hye-jin and Olympic gold medallist Ki Bo-bae.
|South Korea's Kim Woo-jin|
Even the men are on equal footing this year with the 24-year-old Kim Woo-jin having already set the world record in the ranking round at the Games.
China’s diving contingent
The Chinese have a knack for making their way into the water from small (3 metre) and big (10 metr) heights and emerge with the tiniest of splashes.
What makes it even more breathtaking is that they execute the toughest of body rotations before landing in water.
The margin of error is incredibly tiny with your fate sealed in less than five seconds.
India’s shooting contingent
The hopes of over a billion people rest on India’s 107 athletes who will be representing the country at Rio 2016. But the highest expectations perhaps lie on the 12-member shooting contingent that includes greats like Abhinav Bindra, Jitu Rai, Gagan Narang, Chain Singh, Heena Sidhu, Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul all vying for a medal.
India’s hockey teams
India’s men’s hockey team is one of the best in business, currently ranked number five in the world. So can its players bring glory to the nation with a medal? The feat was last accomplished in 1980 when India won the gold.
The women’s team already has won praise for qualifying for the tournament after a gap of 36 years. Can the world number 13 go beyond expectations and finish in top three? Fingers crossed. Chak de India!