Of the four finalists shortlisted to host the Olympic Games in 2016, Rio de Janeiro was the city with the most venues that were already operating, with just under 50% of the competition sites ready to go. Many of the venues had been prepared for the Pan-American Games of 2007. However, the city still had a huge amount of building and development to undertake before they would be fit hosts for the Olympic Games.
Building Work for the Olympic Games
The Barra Cluster
Photo Source: Rio 2016 photographer Alex Ferro via NBC Sports
Ten new competition venues have been built for the 2016 Olympic Games. Most of these were based around the Olympic Park in Barra, a city located on the Atlantic Ocean in western Rio. The most significant of these projects is the Olympic Training Center, which includes the following:
- – The Rio Olympic Velodrome
- – The Olympic Aquatic Stadium
- – The Olympic Tennis Center
- – The Olympic Hockey Center
- – A temporary weightlifting pavilion
Another large part of this construction project was The Indoor Training Center. This venue will have four large halls and will host events such as basketball, handball, wrestling, and martial arts. To house the participants and sponsors, two large accommodation projects known as The Sponsors Village and The Olympic Village, have been completed as well.
The Deodoro Cluster
Photo Source: Divulgação Ministério do Esporte via ArchDaily
A few miles away in the Deodoro area of the city, many sporting venues already existed for shooting and horse riding amongst other events. The venues include:
- – The National Sports Shooting Center
- – The National Equestrian Center
- – The National Center of Modern Pentathlon
These venues were already there for the Pan-American Games of Rio that took place in 2007, but the centers have required some adjustments be made for the scale of the Olympic Games.
On top of these existing venues, The X-Park has been created to host canoe slalom events, as well as mountain biking and other cycling competitions. It contains the following:
- – The Olympic BMX Center
- – The Olympic Mountain Bike Park
- – The Olympic Whitewater Stadium
The X-Park was built to blend into the natural beauty of the area, with biking tracks mapped to fit the surrounding hills and valleys.
The Copacabana Cluster
Photo Source: Alex Ferro/Rio 2016 via Rio2016
The Copacabana beach area, located in the South Zone of Rio, is where beach volleyball competitions will take place. This area will consist of mainly temporary structures built to house the sport and attending spectators.
Overall, the majority of the new structures have been or are being built in the Barra Cluster. Many renovations and adjustments were made to existing structures in the Deodoro Cluster, and the Copacabana cluster will hold mostly temporary venues.
Photo Source: AFP via BBC News
Improving transport links has also been a priority for the city to ensure that Rio will cope with the huge influx of traffic that the Olympic Games will bring. A subway extension is underway that will connect the city center of Rio with the Olympic Park in Barra. Unfortunately, the track will stop around 5 miles short of connecting the two, due to a lack of funds. Buses will fill the gap and allow spectators to reach the venue.
Another extension is due to connect beach areas Ipanema and Copacabana with Barra. Though work has fallen behind schedule, the builders are still optimistic that it will be completed shortly before the beginning of the Olympic Games. These new transport links will be exclusive to participating athletes, as well as press and ticket holders.
Long Term Uses for Constructions
Around a quarter of the new venues built for the Olympic Games are temporary venues. The venues that were built for permanent use each carry a long-term sustainable business plan that will ensure they are used most efficiently and economically for the city of Rio. The new Olympic Training Center will become one of South America’s primary training facilities, and in the future may also become a hotel, and house the country’s International Broadcasting Center, as well as the press.
There are also big plans for the Deodoro Radical Park, strategically situated in one of the more densely populated areas of the city, to become a sports center for the public to enjoy and use for training and/or recreation.