>>>Rio 2016 revs its engines
Photo: Rio 2016

Rio 2016 revs its engines

The sporting event of the year touches down in South America for the first time. The Brazilian city is getting ready to light the Olympic torch, this time among palm trees.
“Citius, Altius, Fortius” or, in other words, “faster, higher, stronger”. That’s the slogan of this year’s Olympic Games, a clear statement of intent. From 5 August, the best 10,500 sportsmen and women in the world will be fighting to live up to this slogan and take gold. Only 306 will triumph. And as American swimmer Missy Franklin says: “Honestly, you have to work for four years just for these eight days. You only have one chance”.
There are 7.5 million tickets on sale. Half of them cost less than 30 dollars.
Photo: Portal da Copa

A veteran’s words

Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebrselassie, two-time Olympic champion in the 10,000 metres and considered one of the best long-distance runners of all time, will be attending the Games as a commentator. He has already advised participants that they should arrive early to become acclimatised and get used to the humidity. He commented on the good air quality as a positive.

For some it will be their first attempt. Sailor Cecilia Wollmann turned 18 two days before qualifying. She’ll be representing Bermuda and will be one of the youngest in the Olympic Village. But she’s not the only novice. New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams will also be making his debut at Rio 2016. He’s already a superstar as double world champion, but, until this year, rugby has not been an Olympic sport. It has been out of the Games for 92 years. Another of the sports that is returning to “Olympus” is golf. In total there will be 42 sporting disciplines.
For seventeen days the eyes of the world will be fixed on just one city: Rio de Janeiro. Its green landscapes and its beaches will be the setting for many of the competitions. The aquatic sports will be split between Copacabana and Barra da Tijuaca. The rowing will be held at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which five-time Olympic champion from Great Britain, Steve Redgrave, describes as “absolutely stunning”. The football tournament will take place at the Maracanã Stadium. This legendary stadium will also be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies.
The João Havelange Olympic Stadium is popularly known as Engenhão because that’s the district where it’s located.
Photo: RIO2016/LUMO Arquitetura
The competition is on the beach
The Rio Games will have a new star sport in addition to football. The city, surrounded by urban beaches, has a great tradition of playing beach volleyball. Expectations are high, especially after Brazil’s victory in the last Beach Volleyball World Championships. On this occasion they also have the advantage of playing at home. The tournament will be held at a temporary stadium in Copacabana, which can hold 12,000 people.
The mascots of the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games have been named Vinicius and Tom.
Photo: A.RICARDO / Shutterstock.com
The residents of Rio de Janeiro are also great fans, and the beaches of Ipanema, Copacabana and Barra da Tijuca are testimony to this. Improvised competitions are often held on its golden sands, under the watchful eye of Christ the Redeemer.
The Games in numbers
The Olympic Games require enormous preparation. The city has to accommodate not only sportsmen and women from 206 countries, but also tourists and fans. The Organising Committee calculates that approximately 34,000 beds will be needed. Its “shopping list” includes 25,000 tennis balls, 60,000 hangers and eleven million meals. Some 45,000 volunteers will be at hand to carry out various jobs, such as participating in the opening ceremony, helping the emergency services and working as interpreters.
The Olympic torch leaves Olympia on 21 April and will pass through 83 cities before reaching Rio de Janeiro. The countdown has now begun. On your marks, get set, go!

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