Rio 2016 is around the corner!

The countdown is on to the 2016 Olympic Games which are redefining the city and exciting the public.

by João Pedro Moretzson

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The Olympic Games in Rio are close. With the opening ceremony scheduled for August 5, you can feel the anticipation and excitement growing each day.  This glorious anticipation is palpable. You can feel it. Almost touch it.

This XXXI Olympiad of the modern era will run for 21 days, and will feature competitions in 42 sports. New events for the Rio 2016 Games include rugby and golf, both of which are reclaiming their status as Olympic sports after 92 and 112 years, respectively. According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), approximately 10,500 athletes from 205 countries are participating in this edition of the Olympic Games – the first to be held in South America. There will be 306 sets of medals contested among female, male and mixed competitions. To help in organizing the event, 45,000 volunteers will be available to the IOC, as well as employees and contractors

The Games will feature 32 competition venues located in four areas of the city – Barra da Tijuca (15), Copacabana (4), Maracanã (4) and Deodoro (9). The arenas and sites have already reached 98% of execution, and 27 sites have already been handed over to the IOC.

In addition, technical infrastructure works on the Olympic Park are at an advanced stage of execution. The Main Press Center (MPC) and International Broadcasting Center (IBC) have been completed and delivered to the authorities, while the Press Hotel is in the final stages of construction. The Athletes’ Villa will accommodate the competitors during the Rio 2016 Games and is currently 97% completed, and scheduled for delivery to the IOC in May.

The federal and municipal governments have invested more than R$ 7 billion to prepare the city and host the Olympics. The main points of focus were the integration and transport projects, to accommodate greater mobility and fluidity during the games. Examples are projects such as the installation of Light Transport Vehicles (VLT), in addition to expanding the Rio subway system lines. City streets and avenues were expanded and corridors created for Special Bus Circulation (BRT) and transport of the delegations and authorities. Urbanization projects in the Olympic Park and Deodoro regions were also carried out.

Stars of all sports will disembark in Rio in search of medals and glory. The Jamaican Usain Bolt, double Olympic champion sprinter in the 100 and 200 metres races, will come to reaffirm his legendary status and to record his name in history with a possible third championship. American Michael Phelps will try to increase his collection of Olympic medals, an incredible 22 in all, as well as personalities like Mo Farah (British distance runner), Shelly-Ann Fraser (Jamaican sprinter), and even Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who promised to come to the Games to defend Sweden in the Olympic soccer tournament.

Soccer, by the way, is an obsession for the Brazilian Olympic Committee and for the public during the Rio 2016 Games. Brazil has never won the sport in the Olympics, hitting the crossbar seven times: five with the male team, and twice with the female team. To help the country win the gold medal dream, Brazil will have Neymar in the male games, and the talent of Marta in the female games.

The Brazilian Olympic Committee sets high goals for Brazilian participation in the competition. The Committee figures Brazil will be among the top five in the ranking by the end of the Olympics. For this, it is counting on the strong performance of the Brazilians, such as the female and male volleyball teams – always candidates to the title – as well as victories in beach volleyball.

Fabiana Murer, the pole vaulter, is another great hope for a medal, as well as Isaquías Queiroz, in slalom and speed canoeing. Robert Scheidt will compete in sailing again. The Brazilian Olympic medal holder is also a favourite for a medal in 2016.

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