Rio2016 is not Brazils Overnight Journey
Seven years a go on 2nd October 2009 International Olympics Committee in its 121st Session at Copenhagen, Denmark awarded Rio de Janeiro as the first South American city to host the 2016 edition of Summer Olympics. Within the process Rio de Janeiro became more acceptable to IOC members who chose Rio over Madrid, Chicago, Tokyo. Well Rio journey to host olympics got awarded in 2009 but its real journey dates back to September 7, 2007, when the city submitted its application to host Olympics and it took momentum further triggered four years ago when the Mayor of Rio received Olympics flag from the Mayor of London who hosted the games 2012 edition. Historically prior to millennium Brazil was known to the world for three things Soccer, Amazon, Pele but decades after world surprised to visualise rising powerhouse of South American nation about to host world’s two major sporting event in between 2014–2016 as no country have seen it so closely in past FIFA World Cup 2014 and 2016 Olympics.
Well getting the opportunity to host two major sporting events has its own consequences beyond economy and syncing of activities although Olympics is a city specific while football world cup a nations dream. But Maracena was chosen to host final of FIFA World Cup as well as operate as Olympic Stadium. So keeping in mind like any other city planning exercise the Organising Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games developed a plan for the city’s Olympic Park, following an international competition amongst best design chosen amongst 60 entries from companies belonging to 18 countries based on ideas on how to build infrastructure to be used during Olympics Game and the long-term legacy that will leave for Rio including how different areas of the Olympic Park will be used, such as where the public spaces, squares and parks will be located and also outlines the location of the permanent and temporary venues and the future real estate developments to be built at the site.
The exercise resulted as Olympic Park the heart of the Games will host competitions for 10 Olympic sports (basketball, judo, taekwondo, wrestling, handball, hockey, tennis, cycling, aquatics and gymnastics) along with Main Press Centre (MPC) and the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) too will host approximately 20,000 journalists covering 300-acre site along with new permanent sports venues in the Olympic Park were built around the existing facilities, such as the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, the Olympic Velodrome and the Olympic Arena which will function as South America’s first Olympic Training Centre, helping to discover and develop sporting talent and at least 60 per cent space of the Olympic Park will be freed up for future developments after the Games over as part of the legacy that these infrastructure will leave to the city, the highlights includes environmental preservation and viability of maintaining and preserving the lagoon. The Olympic park which is built along with international standard comprising permanent and temporary structures on which new network of streets and squares of future city will be planned during post Olympics. On the other side Olympic village built having consists of 31 buildings with 3,604 apartments that will be home to more than 17,000 athletes and team officials during the Olympic Games and 6,000 people during the Paralympic Games, which also includes a 24-hour gym, multi-faith center, florist, convenience stores, bank, post office, hairdresser and beauty salon, as well as a vast food hall that will serve more than 60,000 meals a day during the Games period and do have a dedicated Mayor too other than City Mayor to ensure participants stay & return with a good memory of city management beyond sports to their respective home towns.
Well its the biggest moment of any sports person to be part of Olympics representing own country as more than 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), including first time entrants Kosovo and South Sudan apart from 10 Refugees representing Olympics are scheduled to take part. With 306 Gold medals in offer, the games will feature 42 Sports Discipline, including rugby sevens and golf that returned to Olympics. These sporting events will take place at 37 venues in the host city and at 5 venues in the cities of São Paulo (Brazil’s largest city), Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília (Brazil’s capital), and Manaus from 5th-21st August 2016. In other words one would not deny its not just sports competition rather presenting a Global township with all modern necessity.
However, like any major events in developing world does not end without any hiccups Rio too is not an exceptional rather passing through the phase as one might expect. When Rio De Janeiro awarded to host theXXXI Olympiad popularly known as Rio2016 then Brazil economy was flying and everything were under control but seven years down the line today when celebration of Olympics arrived it’s economy is down sleeping; with a hope economy may shoot post Olympics but chances are less due to global as well as Brazil economy in down. The real estate development of apartment and on 60/% area that will be available in post olympics may not take place soon until 2018 or 2020 when it is expected the economy may return to normalcy.
Well it could be a lesson for developing countries who are dreaming to host Olympics in near future as every host city is not Beijing nor London nor Sydney nor Barcelona. Rather Rio is some how having more than its share in solving the local issues to deliver the game on schedule due to falling economy, political turmoil, drugs & prostitution, allegation of corruption, ran out of cash, Zica virus and problems relating to pollution in water, garbage in ocean, sanitation outside games venue are still wounding the organisers although now Rio is in better shape than what it use to be seven year ago. This only speaks louder & clear is that before thinking of hosting Olympics a city must first put it in order with basic amenities of sanitation, pollution, water, housing, public transport etc.
Otherwise its very top to put everything on last moment as all of a sudden the current situation in Rio reminds of New Delhi CWG2010 where everything was perfect inside venue where as the city was struggling with sanitation, water logging, dengue mosquitos, traffic congestions etc. This also reminds of Beijing eight years ago how its passed same situation to solve its Air Pollution, Smog, Congestion etc but Chinese did able to deliver beyond everyones expectations by shutting down the industries, banned use of vehicles, even handled weather to some extent during games period so as to send the world a better view of Made in China. Although Rio as part of its legacy programs launched Light Railway Vehicle, expansion of Bus Rapid Transit System, Public Spaces, Road Networks, 282miles of Cycleways which is largest ever cycling infrastructure in latin america, shutdown its dumping ground with a waste processing plants that once used to be largest open dumping yard in South America by capturing Bio Gas from it, etc.
As the Olympic flame arrived in Olympics Village, the flag will be lifted tonight and the Mayor of Rio believes every one real that organiser spent on the Games, five have been invested on ensuring a legacy for the city, through sustainable infrastructure, improved public transport and accessible facilities for the citizens in days to come. Lets hope Rio will deliver the Game as promised seven years ago with a new benchmark; as after FIFA World Cup 2014, this Rio2016 is going to be its last biggest sport carnival for next few decades. Hopefully the game will boost sustainability messages not just into citizens of Rio rather will send back all the visitors of game as Ambassadors of Peace & Sustainability into their respective home town.
Let the sports carnival of south america begin in its own style.