Sunday, 03 May 2015 09:53

Brazil and the Olympic Games

Written by  Rita Cook
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As the whole country of Brazil gears up for next year’s summer games, Olympic game tickets went on sale at the end of March with an estimated 7.5 million tickets being offered to visitors who want to take part in Olympic history. Already, ticket sales are off to a good start, with Brazilian fans having applied for 1.2 million tickets for the Games. So far, the top 10 most sought-after events are artistic gymnastics, swimming, athletics, tennis, beach volleyball, judo and handball.

A variety of areas will host the various sporting events, beginning with Rio de Janeiro’s stunning neighborhood known as Copacabana - a place that singers have romanticized and movie stars have frequented for years. Hosting the open-air sports, there will be beach volleyball, rowing, swimming, sailing and triathlon events staged at this location, all with the backdrop that includes Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and Lagos Rodrigo de Ferias. In fact, many of Rio’s most famous attractions and some of its best restaurants are in the Copacabana zone, and with competitions taking place in the area daily, spectators can revel in  the Olympic atmosphere while enjoying the scenery and location too.
While beach volleyball on the famous beach is an obvious choice, other locations will include Fort Copacabana where the triathlon and marathon swimming events will take place. In the neighborhoods of Lagoa and Glória for rowing and canoe sprint events will be held, along with the sailing competitions. Organizers are already touting the fact that Lagoa Stadium promises to be one of the most spectacular rowing and canoe venues in Olympic history, surrounded by mountains and the well known Christ the Redeemer looking down on it all.
Even without a ticket for the road cycling race and triathlon competitions, it will be possible to see some of the action as it takes place in Copacabana, but be warned, the best viewing will be for those who purchase tickets.

Being touted as the “Heart of the 2016 Games,” Barra is home to the newly constructed 1.18 million square-meter Barra Olympic Park, with a total of 15 venues and 23 sports to be held there. Located to the west of Rio and offering a beautiful, long beach, the region’s full name is Barra da Tijuca. Barra is also home to the Riocentro Convention Center. This venue will host many of the indoor sports in its four pavilions. Nearby are the Olympic Golf Course and the Pontal outdoor venue, the start and finish points of the road cycling events. Also  in Barra, it’s basketball, judo, wrestling, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, diving, tennis, cycling, weight lifting and boxing, as well as additional sports all being played out here for the 2016 gold medal competitions.

The area of Deodoro, has been coined “elegance and calm” meets the “fast and loud” with hockey, shooting, rugby, jumping and dressage events among others to be held in what is being called Rio 2016’s second Olympic Park. Olympic organizers note that this stadium will be the place that some of the most traditional, dearly loved sports in the Olympic program will “rub shoulders” with the newest, the boldest and most radical.
Deodoro will also be home to the largest venue cluster and will host 11 different Olympic disciplines in all, as well as being Rio’s first extreme sports park, the X-Park, which will remain as a legacy to the city’s youth after the Games, offering a permanent whitewater canoeing course and BMX track.

Maracanã will offer the samba vibe to the Olympics, because it’s backdrop is the home of the Rio Carnival Parade, the Sambodrome. It’s the place where visitors will also enjoy the iconic opening and closing ceremonies. With two of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmarks and three of the most popular sports located here, this small venue will likely take a front seat at the Games. The Maracanã Stadium will host the football tournaments, and volleyball will take place in the neighboring Maracanãzinho (‘Little Maracanã‘), known as the “spiritual home” of the sport in Brazil. Three venues inside the Maracanã complex will be used for the Games: the eponymous stadium, the Maracanãzinho and the Júlio de Lamare Aquatics Centre, which will host the preliminary rounds of the water polo competition.
While moving around the city, remember that Rio offers some amazing culture. It is home to a rich history that tells the story of its seat of power from the Portuguese Colonial Empire in the early 19th century, and later when it was the capital of the Brazilian Republic. It’s good food, a happy people and a stunning place loaded with landmarks - all a good combination for the making of history as the 2016 Summer Games reminds folks around the world of Brazil’s dazzling hospitality.
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