This may be the first time South America hosts the Olympics, but Latin America is no stranger to making history and scoring big at the Games. Take Cuba, the region’s Olympic powerhouse: as the winner of over 200 medals, the island ranks twenty-first worldwide for Olympic wins. Meanwhile, Mexico became the first Latin American country to host the Games in 1968, when track and field athlete Norma Enriqueta Basilio also became the first woman to light the Olympic cauldron. Brazil’s women athletes stand out as well; the host country’s female volleyball team is aiming for its fourth Olympic gold medal this year. Then there’s Argentina, the only Latin American country—and one of only three countries ever—to defeat the U.S. men’s basketball team.
The region is poised to make its mark again, with hundreds of athletes from across the region competing this year. Ahead of Rio’s Olympics, AS/COA Online looks at how the region scores throughout its Olympic history, plus fast facts about Rio de Janeiro’s mega event.