Rio 2016's 6 solo representatives
Cameron Spencer / Getty Images Sport / Getty

While international sporting behemoths like the United States, China, and Russia - depleted as the latter may be - waltz through the Maracana Stadium with their massive team of athletes for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a sextet of nations will be operating on a significantly smaller scale.

The smallest possible, actually.

Six nations will be represented by a lone competitor at Rio 2016, these men and women waving their country's flag high above their shoulders, and carrying the entirety of their country's expectations on them.

Jaspar Yu Woon Chai - Brunei

Event: Badminton (Men's singles)

In May, Jaspar Yu Woon Chai received what was surely among the greatest messages of his life.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced that the 27-year-old shuttler was granted one of three invitational places at Rio 2016 by the IOC's Tripartite Commission - a group that allocates Olympic berths in various sports to smaller National Olympic Councils with few qualified athletes.

The world's 413th-ranked men's badminton player celebrated the achievement on Instagram:

"There are no words to explain how happy I am to be given a chance to fulfil my lifelong dream of playing in the Olympics & I will do my best carrying my country's flag in the world's biggest sporting event!"

Mohammad Tawfiq Bakhshi - Afghanistan

Event: Judo (Men's half-heavyweight class)

The lone Afghan athlete making the trip to the Brazilian seaside city, Bakhshi enters the men's 100 kg event ranked 226th in the world in his weight class.

The unheralded judoka, who qualified for Rio 2016 after being awarded a wild card spot by the International Judo Federation (IJF), will be looking to make a piece of personal history. And he doesn't have to medal to do it.

Dating back to 2007, Bakhshi has never recorded a victory at a major international competition, compiling nine losses between the Asian Championships, World Cup, and World Championships. What better place than the biggest stage of them all to break that streak?

David Katoatau - Kiribati

Event: Weightlifting (Men's 105 kg class)

A national icon in his homeland - a tiny island country in the central Pacific Ocean that's home to just over 100,000 people - Katoatau will long be the answer to a proud trivia question in Kiribati.

Two years ago in Glasgow, Scotland, the then-30-year-old won his nation's first-ever medal at the Commonwealth Games when he captured gold in the 105 kg weightlifting class.

That historic victory, which came by virtue of a 148 kg lift in the snatch and a 200 kg effort in the clean and jerk, earned him the foremost memento of national recognition: his very own postage stamp.

Yordanis Duranona - Dominica

Event: Triple jump

Like many of the athletes on this list, Dominica's lone representative will have to greatly exceed expectations to reach the podium in Rio. The world's 36th-ranked triple jumper, Duranona comes into the Olympics on the back of a down spell.

The Cuban-born athlete, who switched allegiance in 2011, has a seasonal best of just 15.27 meters, a jump he recorded at the World Indoor Championships in March, when he finished last in the 16-man field.

His personal best of 17.20 meters was set in Mexico City in 2014, at the Pan American Sports Festival. Duranona, 28, just missed the podium at the 2015 Pan American Games, his 16.72-meter jump good enough for fourth place. He'll no doubt be hoping to replicate the latter two leaps this month.

Buly da Conceicco Triste - Sao Tome and Principe

Event: Canoeing (Men's C-1 1000-meter race)

Africa's second smallest country will be sending its 12th-ever athlete to the Olympic Games, as Sao Tome and Principe will be represented by paddler Triste.

Ten of the Portuguese-speaking nation's previous Olympic representatives competed in track and field, but Triste will follow in the footsteps - er, paddle strokes - of Alcino Silva, who competed in both the K-1 500-metre and K-1 1000-metre events at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

The man with arguably the best name in Rio will hope to enjoy a more successful sprint than his compatriot, however; Silva was eliminated in the semifinals and heats of the two events, respectively.

Jenly Tegu Wini - Solomon Islands

Event: Weightlifting (Women's 58 kg class)

No stranger to wearing her country's colors at major events, Wini will command the undivided attention of the Solomon Islands at the opening ceremony for Rio 2016. Flag bearer at both the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 33-year-old weightlifter - who finished eighth at the latter event in Glasgow - will once again wave her nation's banner for the world to see.

The first female weightlifter to win gold at the Oceania Championships - Wini claimed the top prize in 2013 - she alone carries the country's hopes of capturing a first-ever Olympic medal this summer.

Rio 2016's 6 solo representatives
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