Things you might not know about Rio 2016
Published: 09 Aug 2016
With Rio de Janeiro at the centre of the sporting world, we uncover some facts about the Brazilian city as it becomes the first South American host for the Summer Olympics.
With the Olympic Broadcasting Services delivering 40,000 hours of television coverage, the 37 Games venues are fast becoming as familiar sights as Rio's famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, Copacabana Beach and Sugarloaf Mountain.
But even allowing for blanket media coverage of the XXXI Olympiad, there may still be facts that will remain unknown to the general public when the Olympic Flag is lowered on August 21.
When Rio was awarded the Games back in 2009, officials knew the Olympics had to be sustainable and generate a lasting legacy for the city and Brazil, because they are central facets of the IOC's mission.
Some of those legacies are obvious from the TV coverage - such as many of the 70 new hotels; the port area, which has been transformed into a cultural and leisure complex; and the transport network, which now boasts an additional metro line, new roads, an enhanced rail network and a modern international airport.
However, other legacies are not yet clear, because they will not be put into practice until the Games finish.
The Aquatics Stadium and handball venue are to be converted, the former into two public water-sports facilities and the latter into four schools. There will also be a new school in the Barra Olympic Park.
Meanwhile, two Olympic partners, Dow and GE, are doing their bit for the Rio legacy, with Dow implementing energy-efficient and low-carbon technologies across the Brazilian economy to reduce carbon emissions and deliver climate benefits, while GE is improving Rio's lighting in public places and providing radiology imaging systems for the city’s Souza Aguiar Hospital.
But the Olympics is not just about infrastructure; it's about people.
From the moment the Olympic Torch Relay began in Greece two months prior to the Opening Ceremony, it was about people, with around 12,000 carrying the Olympic flame from Athens to Rio.
Then there is the 90,000-strong workforce making the Games happen, 50,000 of whom are volunteers, selected from 240,000 applicants.
Of that workforce, thousands are new jobs and training opportunities created as a result of the Games taking place in Rio. For example, some 16,000 additional staff positions have been generated to service those 70 new hotels and apartments built in preparation for the Games.
Here, another Olympic partner, Coca-Cola, has assisted, employing young people from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, giving them valuable work experience in hospitality and venue operations.
In April children from Central Rio took part in a series of Olympic and Paralympic sports in the latest edition of the Transforma Sports Festival, part of the 2016 Rio Education Programme which has benefited over six million students.
As for the actual Games, a record 206 countries are taking part in a record number of sports (28), with Rio being the first Olympics to include a Refugee Team due to the European migrant crisis. Out of 43 refugee athletes deemed eligible, 10 were chosen to compete in Rio.
Approximately 10,500 athletes are competing in 306 medal events and their efforts are being covered by some 20,000 members of the international media.
In order to ensure the Games are 'clean', up to 4,500 urine and 1000 blood anti-doping tests will be conducted in Rio by more than 200 doping control officers. Samples will then be stored for 10 years pending the development of new scientific methods.
While the build-up to these Games was played out under a cloud of controversy, it’s to be hoped our lasting memories of the fortnight are of feats of sporting heroism and endeavor.
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