LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - There are several big questions entering the the Rio Summer Olympics, which officially get underway Friday night.
Two of the biggest questions are:
Will any of the athletes contract the Zika virus?
Will the Olympics be interrupted by something (an act of terrorism or a problem with one of the facilities)?
One of the less important, but still intriguing questions will be answered Friday night when the Olympic flame is lit. That moment has produced some of the most memorable moments in Olympic history. Obviously none of those have been as indelible, especially around here, as when Muhammad Ali ignited the cauldron at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
So with that in mind, who will light the flame Friday night in Rio?
Obviously the mostly likely candidate to light the cauldron would’ve been Brazil soccer legend Pelé. Friday, however, it was announced that the 75-year-old had pulled out of the Opening Ceremony due to health concerns.
Here my Top 10 guesses as to who will light the flame:
Another famous footballer - Obviously a soccer player is the likeliest choice since “football” is the national sport of the country. Here are a few names (all are so famous that they only need one) to consider: Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Neymar, Kaká and Cafu.
Oscar Schmidt - A retired professional men’s basketball player. If Oscar is the one, we’ll see if he lights the flame like he lit up the Denny Crum-coached United States team in the 1987 final of the Pan American Games in Indianapolis. Oscar famously scored 46 points to lead Brazil to a huge comeback and 120-115 upset of a U.S. team that featured David Robinson as well as Pervis Ellison, Rex Chapman and Keith Smart in the gold medal game in Market Square Arena.
Joaquim Cruz - A former track & field athlete. The 53-year-old Cruz stunningly won the 800-meter run at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and won silver in that event in the ‘88 Summer Games.
Torben Grael - A sailor, nicknamed the “Turbine,” is the Brazilian with the highest number of Olympic medals (five), including golds in Atlanta in 1996 and Athens in 2004.
Emanuel Rego - A recently-retired male beach volleyball player who competed in five straight Summer Olympics, beginning in ‘96. He won gold at Athens (with Richard Santos) in ‘04, silver at London in ‘12 and bronze at Beijing in ‘08.
Maria Bueno - A former professional women’s tennis player. The 76-year-old Bueno won 19 Grand Slam titles (seven singles, 11 women’s doubles and one mixed doubles) in her career. The world’s No. 1 player in 1959, Bueno became the first woman to win all four Grand Slam doubles titles in one year in 1960.
Dante Amaral - Professional men’s volleyball player who led Brazil to gold in 2004 in Athens and a pair of silver medals (‘08 in Beijing and ‘12 London).
Gustavo Borges - Former competitive swimmer who swam in four Summer Olympics (1992, ‘96, 2000 & 2004) and won four medals (two silver, two bronze).
Emerson Fittipaldi or Helio Castroneves - While not an Olympic sport, auto racing is beloved in Brazil. The 69-year-old Fittipaldi is a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 while Castroneves is a three-time Indy winner, as well a one-time winner of the coveted mirror ball trophy, which goes to the champion of 'Dancing with the Stars.'
Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima - The long-distance runner who won the bronze in the marathon at the 2004 Summer Olympics after being attacked by a spectator while leading the race.
Stay with WAVE 3 News and NBC tonight to see who lights the flame in Rio.
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