The Olympics begin Wednesday with women's soccer in Rio

The 2016 Rio Olympics.
(Image credit: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Although the Rio Olympics' Opening Ceremony isn't until Friday, the Summer Games technically kick off Wednesday with the first round of the women's soccer tournament. Sweden will play South Africa at noon ET, followed by Canada vs. Australia at 2 p.m. ET, Brazil vs. China at 3 p.m. ET, and reigning gold medal champions the United States vs. New Zealand at 6 p.m.

If the United States wins this tournament, it will represent the first time in women's soccer that the same country has won the World Cup and the Olympics in consecutive years. It will also give the American women four straight Olympic gold medals.Most significant, perhaps, it will add to the notion that the women are America's most compelling national team. The roster includes several familiar faces — [Megan] Rapinoe, [Alex] Morgan, [Carli] Lloyd, [Hope] Solo, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Morgan Brien, Tobin Heath, Kelley O'Hara, and Ali Krieger — and some significant new ones. [The New York Times]

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