Rio de Janeiro will host the biggest sports event on the planet in 2016, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. From August 5th, the city will be home to the 28th edition of the Summer Olympic Games. It’s the first time that the event, created in 1896 by French Baron Pierre de Coubertin, will take place in South America, after being held in locations in North America, Asia, Europe and Oceania in the last 120 years. The opening ceremony, at Maracanã Stadium is scheduled to start at 6 pm. The event will last 17 days, during which the world will have its eyes fixed on the Marvelous City more than ever before. The organizers’ expectation is that the Rio 2016 Olympics will receive around 500,000 tourists. Never before have the most competitive contests in the world happened in such a beautiful setting.
Approximately 10,500 athletes from over 200 countries will take part in the Rio 2016 Games. They will compete for over 300 medals in 161 games for men, 136 for women and nine mixed events. The official program consists of basketball, volleyball and 40 other sports. The 2016 event brings some new features in comparison to previous years. One of them is the return of golf to the Olympics schedule, after 112 years. Another sport that was out and has now returned is rugby, which hasn’t been played at the Olympic Games for 92 years.
The organization of Rio 2016 includes some impressive numbers. Twenty-five thousand tennis balls should be used in the competitions. Sixty thousand hangers will be utilized during the event, in which about 11 million meals are expected to be consumed. The Olympic Committee has 12,000 computers and 15,000 cellphones. One hundred and fifty vessels will be brought from outside the country for canoeing. But the most complex operation of the games involves the transport and accommodation of more than 300 horses that will be flown in from Europe and North America for the equestrian competitions.
There is no shortage of stars in the cast of the Olympics. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and American basketball player LeBron James are two of them. Brazil will also be represented by great athletes in Rio 2016, such as swimmer Cesar Cielo. The 32 competition venues are located in four major areas of the city. They are: Barra da Tijuca (15 facilities) Copacabana (4 facilities), Deodoro (9 facilities) and Maracanã (4 facilities).
Rio 2016 Competition Venues
Barra da Tijuca is the place with the largest number of installations linked to Rio 2016. Many of them are concentrated in the so-called Olympic Park, which will hold the basketball, fencing, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline, handball, judo, Greco-Roman wrestling, wrestling, synchronized swimming, swimming, water polo, diving, taekwondo and tennis competitions. Badminton, boxing, weightlifting and table tennis contests will be held at Riocentro. Cycling and race walking athletes will compete in Pontal. The Golf Olympic Course is also in the neighborhood.
Deodoro will be home to basketball, equestrian, field hockey, modern pentathlon, rugby and shooting contests. New spaces have been created for each of those sports, such as the Youth Arena, the Aquatics Centre and the Rugby Stadium. The location, near Brazil Avenue, also comprises the Extreme Park, which will host the cycling and canoeing competitions.
The area dubbed by organizers as Maracanã includes facilities such as the Olympic Stadium (Engenhão), the Sambadrome and the Maracanã sports complex. Athletic races and football matches are scheduled to take place in the Engenho de Dentro arena. The spotlights of the Marquês de Sapucaí Street will illuminate the archery athletes and the final stretch of the marathon. The football tournament final will take place at Maracanã. Maracanãzinho will be the home of volleyball in Rio 2016.
Copacabana was the name given by the organizers to the southern area of the city with Olympic venues. The area covers places like Marina da Glória, where the sailing athletes will compete, and Lagoa Stadium, which will receive the rowing and canoe sprint. The beach volleyball arena will be in Copacabana. The historical setting of Copacabana Fort will serve as landscape for the Rio 2016 road cycling, triathlon and marathon swimming competitions.
Traveling to the venues by car or motorcycle won’t be allowed, so it’s best to use public transport to get to the facilities where the competitions will happen. Check our Guide to Public Transport in Rio. You can also watch the explanatory video prepared by the cidadeolimpica.rio team:
Recent infrastructure works have facilitated access to the Rio 2016 Olympic venues. BRTs (Bus Rapid Transit) Transcarioca and Transoeste will allow people to travel to Barra from Galeão Airport and the west end of the city, respectively. The current fare for the service is R$ 3.80. Transolímpica is the other exclusive bus corridor that should be ready for the games. It will connect Barra to Deodoro. The last location is already served by trains, which depart from the city center and charge R$ 3.30 for the trip. The rail option is also an alternative to get to Engenhão and Maracanã (both on the Deodoro line). The latest also has a subway station (Maracanã) nearby, as well as Copacabana and Marina da Glória (Glória subway station). The price of the basic subway fare is R$ 4.10.
Some 7.5 million tickets were made available for events related to Rio 2016. Almost half of them have prices not higher than R$ 70. You can still purchase tickets for the competitions on the Rio 2016 Olympics website.
For events that will take place at the Maracanã Stadium, the ideal is to go by train or subway (line 2, green). The name of the closest station is Maracanã in both cases.
To get to the Arenas where competitions of many of the Olympic sports will be held, the best idea is to check the Olympics’ official website on the day of the contests, so that you can read the Rio 2016 Spectator Guides, in which you will find all the necessary information on each sport, in addition to the opening and closing ceremonies, with the option to download.
Planning on Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Cultural events should take place in various parts of Rio de Janeiro during the 17 days of competition in Rio 2016. The organizers have planned performances of poets from the outskirts of the city, crafts and food fairs, and dance, music and theater performances. The final schedule with the full program has not yet been disclosed, but you can follow the Rio 2016 website and the page of the Federal Government to get updates on the cultural schedule of the Olympic Games.
An excellent cultural venue to visit during the Olympics is the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil, (CCBB, or Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in English), whose main exhibition during Rio 2016 is called “The Triumph of Color. Post-Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie”, which features 75 works by 32 artists who, from the late 19th century, sought new ways to paint. As stated by CCBB’s curatorship, the exhibition presents Impressionist movement icons, such as Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne and Seurat, among others. CCBB is located at Primeiro de Março Street, 66, downtown Rio, and the phone is +55 21 3808 2020. It is open from Wednesday to Monday, from 9 am to 9 pm, and the nearest subway station is Uruguaiana (exit: Presidente Vargas Avenue).
Another good place to visit is the Centro Cultural Justiça Federal (CCJF, or Federal Justice Cultural Center in English), which features a sports-themed exhibition during the Olympics: “Body and Soul Athletes”, until August 29th, as well as several free cultural activities. CCJF is located at Rio Branco Avenue, 241, and the phone is +55 21 3261 2550. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 12 pm to 7 pm. The best option to get there is to catch the subway and get off at Cinelândia station.
A lot of movement is expected at airports and other points of the city during the Olympics. Those who are visiting Rio are advised to take this into account when planning their tours. Avoiding the most visited tourist attractions, such as the Christ the Redeemer and the Sugarloaf Mountain in times of higher flow of people is a good idea. The closing ceremony of the 28th edition of the Summer Olympic Games, Rio 2016, will take place at Maracanã and is expected to finish at 11 pm on August 21st, when the Paralympics Rio 2016 will start, from September 7th to 18th. Check the Guide to Rights and Accessibility for passengers with special needs.
Be careful during Rio 2016
- It’s important to bear in mind that the cautions suggested to the city’s visitors also apply to the period of the Olympic Games. Therefore, we strongly recommend you read the articles Violence in Rio de Janeiro and Tourist Scams in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the Guide Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya during Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
- The best is to take little cash with you and be careful with your cellphone. Choosing light clothing is also essential. Drinking plenty of water and consuming alcohol in moderation, as well as choosing trusted places to eat are ways to prevent your party from ending sooner than expected. Also, it’s wise to check the Spectator Guide on the sport you wish to watch at Rio 2016 on the day of the competition to see an updated version, since it will give you an indication of objects that are and aren’t allowed at each venue of the Games, in accordance with each sport and competition.
- In order to avoid the stress of arriving late to the places where the competitions will take place, leave well in advance. Leaving at the last minute makes you vulnerable to contingencies and doesn’t give you enough time to overcome them, and then you won’t enjoy your day out. The ideal is to plan your day in advance, so that you can get to the venues ahead of the start of the competitions, and you won’t have to hurry.
Credits for the used images in this Rio 2016 Olympic Games article: Agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br, Alex Ferro, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Eckhard Pecher e José Paulo Lacerda.