These latest happenings can make a differenceAugust 05, 2016

As many would fear, the Olympic Village turned out to be a magnet for all kinds of troubles. And the Australian athletes were at the wrong end. Kitty Chiller, the Chef de Mission for Australia at the 2016 Summer Olympics, didn't call out names. It wasn't hard to guess that some locals were the culprits behind the missing laptops and shirts.

The opening ceremony would be held on August 6, and there was last-minute development. Could these affect the possible outcome? Let's analyse it:

Michael Phelps will take part in the 400-meter freestyle relay. Bob Bowman was mum when asked about the inclusion of Michael Phelps in the relays. And it turned out to be affirmative. The most decorated American swimmer was guaranteed a place in the 400-meter medley relay after finishing first in the 100-meter butterfly at the US trials last month. He didn't compete in the 100-meter freestyle, which would determine the members of the US team in the 400-meter freestyle relay in Rio. But this won't be the first time. (A similar incident happened in 2008 and 2012.) France remains the strong favourite, with Australia not far behind. This would be the final Games for Phelps, though. Fans could see him taking part in the preliminaries, but it would be up to the Bowman (and the rest of the coaches) to decide if Phelps should swim in the finals. A silver medal would be a possibility, but don't discount an upset. The Aussies could win this one.

And Katie Ledecky too. Many were certain that the 19-year old would bring home four gold medals. She finished seventh in the 100 meters at the trials, but she swam faster before. (This was the reason behind her inclusion.) Nonetheless, the Campbell sisters remained a force to reckon in the pool. And they could lead the Australian team to a world-record time. Then again, Ledecky was unstoppable these last few years. She might surprise fans one more time.

Bob and Mike Bryan won't defend their Olympic title. And it hardly changed the prediction in the men's doubles. The twins remained consistent, but they weren't as dominant as three years ago. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut have shown the same form that the Bryan Brothers did not long ago. Expect a serious challenge from the Murray Brothers. It might be a preview of the Davis Cup finals this November.

Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championships. Sadly, the 37-year-old pro from Oklahoma City won't be bound for Rio. Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, and Matt Kuchar would comprise the US team. Despite the absence of six Top 10 players, all citing the Zika virus, the men's field would remain strong. Watson, the two-time Master's winner, might be the likely gold medal winner. Henrik Stenson of Sweden, the new British Open champion, is in good form lately. Justin Rose of Great Britain, the 2013 US Open champ, would love to have that gold medal around his neck. And Sergio García still remains on the hunt. Stenson could hit stride once more.

Andrew Bogut has been tweeting lately. And it has nothing to do with a career-threatening injury. The Dallas Mavericks center ripped the organisers for the standard of accommodation in the Olympic Village. The Boomers have a scratchy series of lead-in games ahead of Rio, and they needed Bogut more than ever. He had a low-key return in an 82-53 win over China last Sunday. The Australian men's basketball team was predicted of finishing fourth in Group A, which would be good enough. They won't meet the Americans in the knockout round. Group B would be intriguing, though. Marc Gasol's injury prevented him from joining his teammates. Could Spain finish on top of that group? Brazil might end up in the first place. And the raucous fans would love it.

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