See you at the Olympics?

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It is no coincidence that Brazil has the honor of being the first South American country chosen to host the Olympic Games.

Brazil has a worldwide reputation for having one of the most diverse and impressive landscape. It also has also a real history of tolerance, which has turned the country into a worldwide symbol of good coexistence, hospitality and joy. Due to their creativity, kindness and solidarity, Brazilians managed to build one of the most open countries in the world. All in all, this set of values guide Brazilians in their attempt to turn these 2016 Olympic Games into the biggest holiday of the sports world.

The preparations for the Olympic Games have started with investments in the most important areas, namely in preparing the athletes who are to take part in the games and have continued with building the massive infrastructure it needs to host the Olympics. The preparations are still in full swing and reached their climax in the great urban restructuring through which Rio de Janeiro – which is arguably the most beautiful natural scenery of the Olympic Games since Ancient Greece – is currently undergoing.

A lot has been written about the current situation in Brazil, and indeed, not everything is perfect. The city of Rio de Janeiro — not the state — is largely responsible for the Olympics. But the oil-rich state, which has been hit hard by falling commodity prices, is responsible for certain expenditures such as the metro rail extension that will connect the Olympic facilities to the city center (CNN). The Rio de Janeiro state government declared a state of emergency earlier this month, prompting the federal bailout. It warned that a lack of funds may lead to “a total breakdown in public security, health, education, mobility and environmental management.” Brazil has just approved to provide financial assistant as a security fund for the purposes of the Olympics, and everyone is  “running” to catch up with time. However, we have to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Brazil is not Europe. Do not expect everything to run smoothly. Do not expect everything to run according to schedule. But expect entertainment, a lot of interesting activities and a spectacular show!
  2. The media have been only selling “drama” and fear with regards to the next Olympic Games and their safety. But no, not everything is a disaster and the Games will be conducted safely: the Rio state government plans to spend around 129 million dollars in order to guarantee the safety of the Games and security operations involve more than 80,000 people. In comparison, only 40,000 agents were deployed for the London 2012 Olympics. The federal government has warranted that it keeps in touch with international agencies so as to prevent any possible acts of terrorism.
  3. Yes, there is a Zika virus spread in Latin America. The World Health Organization (WHO) though is reassuring that there is no risk for the visitors, not unless they take the necessary precaution measures. It is all about knowing how to protect yourself – after all, we are grownups, aren’t we? Take a look at the health advice for 2016 travellers from the WHO here.

Now, let’s take a look at how has Brazil worked and prepared itself on the Olympic Games.rio2016

In the last years, Brazil made massive public investments so as to provide its athletes and coaches with the necessary material support through programs such as the Athlete Scholarship and the Brazilian Medals Plan.

All these investments in people and infrastructure will end up producing results that will last long after the Olympics have come to an end, since Brazil has been promoting sport among young people by means of investing in various types of sports facilities all over the country. This will be one of the most important legacies of the 2016 Rio Olympics. In addition to this, one should also bear in mind the monumental legacy of Rio de Janeiro’s urban modernization, since almost two thirds of the budget for the Olympics has been allocated to the infrastructure works carried out in Rio de Janeiro. As such, on top of extending the tramway network by introducing a new tramway that connects the whole of Rio’s city center, a new metro line was developed and express lanes (for the buses that will interconnect all the various places of competition venues) have been built too. All this has been made with the sole purpose of improving public transportation both during the games and long after the games have finished.

Furthermore, after the games, the area of Rio’s port is to become a new district dedicated to the leisure and culture of the local residents and the thousands of tourists who visit Brazil every year. The “Porto Maravilha” (i.e. the “Marvelous Port”), which has undergone a massive development program for the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics, will eventually help the Rio regain the brightness it possessed back in the days when it was the capital of Brazil.

The 2016 Rio Games have attracted massive investments from Brazil’s private sector. For instance, the Olympic Parks in Barra and Deodoro, as well as the Olympic Village that will host athletes from all over the world in August, were both constructed by the private sector. In total, “12 training centers of various modalities, 261 Sports Initiation Centers (CIEs), 46 official track & field tracks and ten Olympic venues have been built in Rio de Janeiro”, as shown in a report of Brazil’s federal government.

Rio 2016|Reuters
Rio 2016|Reuters

Moreover, Guido Gelli of the Bay of Guanabara Environmental Sanitation Programme (PSAM) has promised that some locations such as Bay of Guanabara, where the yachting competitions are to be held, as well as the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which will host the rowing events, are both safe for athletes. Edes Fernandes de Oliveira, director of production and overall operations at the Rio Water and Sewage Company, told Diálogo Chino newspaper that the water samples were within international standards, and that all the tests required by the World Health Organization so as to verify the water quality in these locations have been conducted.

“Everything’s going to be ready on time,” Gustavo Nascimento, head of venue management for Rio 2016, told CNN. “We’re going to deliver the park fully commissioned July 24 when we welcome the athletes for training.”

In 2016, you should not just wish to be in Brazil – you should really come and revel in all the good things that an edition of the Olympic Games can offer. You should especially enjoy all the things that a country like Brazil has to offer at anytime, namely peace, love, joy and a lot of happiness!

For all these, Brazil is waiting for you with open arms and hearts!

 

Note: original content written by Iulia Alina Dumitru

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Carlos Monteiro is a Brazilian citizen, graduated in Business Administration by the Catholic University of São Paulo. He lives in Odense, Denmark with his Danish Wife, Cathrine, and their half Danish /Brazilian daughter Ines Marie. You are very welcome to be in contact him at any time.

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