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2016 Summer Olympics

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"Rio 2016" redirects here. For the 2016 Paralympic Games, see 2016 Summer Paralympics.
Games of the XXXI Olympiad
A green, gold and blue coloured design, featuring three people joining hands in a circular formation, sits above the words "Rio 2016", written in a stylistic font. The Olympic rings are placed underneath.
Host city Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Motto A new world
(Portuguese: Um mundo novo)
Nations participating 207
Athletes participating 10,293 confirmed (more than 10,500 expected)
Events 306 in 28 sports
Opening ceremony 5 August
Closing ceremony 21 August
Stadium Maracanã Stadium

The 2016 Summer Olympics (Portuguese: Jogos Olímpicos de Verão de 2016),[a] officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, and commonly known as Rio 2016, is a major international multi-sport event in the tradition of the Olympic Games due to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016. A record number of countries are participating in a record number of sports. More than 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), including first time entrants Kosovo and South Sudan, are scheduled to take part.[1] With 306 sets of medals, the games will feature 28 Olympic sports — including rugby sevens and golf, which were added by the International Olympic Committee in 2009. These sporting events will take place at 33 venues in the host city and at 5 venues in the cities of São Paulo (Brazil's largest city), Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília (Brazil's capital), and Manaus.

These will be the first Summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Thomas Bach.[1] The host city of Rio de Janeiro was announced at the 121st IOC Session held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 2 October 2009. Rio will become the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics. These will be the first games to be held in a Portuguese-speaking country, the first to be held entirely during the host country's winter season (the 2000 games began on 15 September – five days before the Southern Hemisphere's vernal equinox), the first since 1968 to be held in Latin America, and the first since 2000 (and third overall) to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.[2]

The lead-up to these games have been marked by controversies—including the corruption and instability of the country's federal government, as well as prominent health and safety concerns surrounding the Zika virus and significant pollution in the Guanabara Bay.

Bidding process

A young girl adds her signature in support of Rio de Janeiro's candidacy to host the 2016 Olympic Games (January 2009).

The bidding process for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games was officially launched on 16 May 2007.[3] The first step for each city was to submit an initial application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by 13 September 2007, confirming their intention to bid. Completed official bid files, containing answers to a 25-question IOC form, were to be submitted by each applicant city by 14 January 2008. Four candidate cities were chosen for the shortlist on 4 June 2008: Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo (which hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics and will host again in 2020). The IOC did not promote Doha to the Candidature phase, despite scoring higher than selected candidate city Rio de Janeiro, due to their intent of hosting the Olympics in October, outside of the IOC's sporting calendar. Prague and Baku also failed to make the cut.[4]

Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco headed the 10-member Evaluation Commission, having also chaired the evaluation commission for the 2012 Summer Olympics bids. The commission made on-site inspections in the second quarter of 2009. They issued a comprehensive technical appraisal for IOC members on 2 September, one month before elections.[5]

Many restrictions are in place designed to prevent bidding cities from communicating with or influencing directly the 115 voting members. Cities may not invite any IOC member to visit nor may they send anything that could be construed as a gift. Nonetheless, bidding cities invest large sums in their PR and media programs in an attempt to indirectly influence the IOC members by garnering domestic support, support from sports media and general international media.

Ultimately, you are communicating with just 115 people and each one has influencers and pressure groups but you are still speaking to no more than about 1,500 people, perhaps 5,000 in the broadest sense. It is not just about getting ads out there but it is about a targeted and very carefully planned campaign.

— Jon Tibbs, a consultant on the Tokyo bid[6]

The final voting was held on 2 October 2009, in Copenhagen with Madrid and Rio de Janeiro perceived as favourites to land the games. Chicago and Tokyo were eliminated after the first and second rounds of voting, respectively, while Rio de Janeiro took a significant lead over Madrid heading into the final round. The lead held and Rio de Janeiro was announced as host of 2016 Summer Olympics. Failed bids from other South American cities include Buenos Aires (1936, 1956, 1968, 2004) and Brasília, which withdrew during the 2000 Summer Olympic bidding process.

2016 Summer Olympics bidding results[7]
City NOC Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Rio de Janeiro  Brazil 26 46 66
Madrid  Spain 28 29 32
Tokyo  Japan 22 20
Chicago  United States 18

Development and preparation

Map of the venues
Future Arena (foreground), Arenas Cariocas 1, 2 and 3 and Velodrome (in the background), at Barra Olympic Park
Radical Park of Rio de Janeiro
Olympic Tennis Center
Water Sports Centre

On 26 June 2011 it was reported on that Roderlei Generali, the COO of the Rio de Janeiro Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, resigned just one year after taking the job at ROOC. This comes just five months after CCO Flávio Pestana quit for personal reasons.[8] Pestana withdrew later during the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Renato Ciuchin was then appointed as COO.[9]

Venues and infrastructure

In Rio de Janeiro, Barra da Tijuca will host most of the venues of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016. The rest will be located in three other zones of the host city: Copacabana Beach, Maracanã and Deodoro. Barra da Tijuca will also house the Olympic Village.

Rio's historical downtown is undergoing a large-scale urban waterfront revitalization project called Porto Maravilha.[10] It covers 5 km2 (1.9 sq mi) in area. The project aims to redevelop the port area increasing the city center's attractiveness and enhancing Rio's competitiveness position in the global economy. The urban renovation involves: 700 km (430 mi) of public networks for water supply, sanitation, drainage, electricity, gas and telecom; 4 km (2.5 mi) of tunnels; 70 km (43 mi) of roads; 650 km2 (250 sq mi) of sidewalks; 17 km (11 mi) of bike path; 15,000 trees; three sanitation treatment plants. As part of this renovation, a new tram will be built and will run from the Santos Dumont Airport to Rodoviária Novo Rio. It was due to open in April 2016.[11] The Games require more than 200 kilometres of security fencing. To store material, Rio 2016 is using two warehouses. A 15,000 square metre warehouse in Barra da Tijuca in western Rio is being used to assemble and supply the furniture and fittings for the Olympic Village. A second warehouse of 90,000 square metres, located in Duque de Caxias near the roads that provide access to the venues, contains all the equipment needed for the sporting events.[12]

While the whole city is undergoing major infrastructure improvements, there are concerns that some of the projects will never materialise.[13]

Athletes' village

The athletes' village is claimed to become the largest in Olympic history. Fittings will include about 80,000 chairs, 70,000 tables, 29,000 mattresses, 60,000 clothes hangers, 6,000 television sets and 10,000 smartphones.[12]


Additionally some football games will take place at 5 venues in the cities of São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília and Manaus.


The Rio Olympic Games will have brand-new robotic technology created by Mark Roberts Motion Control to broaden the reach of photographers at multiple venues.[14]

Concerns over completion

On 9 May 2014, the London Evening Standard reported IOC vice-president John Coates calling Brazil's preparations "the worst I’ve experienced" and went on to claim that construction and infrastructure projects were severely behind schedule. "The IOC has formed a special task force to try to speed up preparations but the situation is critical on the ground," the paper quoted him as saying, concluding that such an intervention was "unprecedented".[15] Coates' concerns had previously been reported elsewhere in the media.[16][17]

Despite these initial worries, the Rio Olympics Committee reported on 29 December 2015 that most venues are complete except the Rio Olympic Velodrome (76%) and the Youth Arena (75%).


Rio de Janeiro public transport map, including the connection with the Olympic area in Barra da Tijuca
Bus Rapid Transit in Rio de Janeiro International Airport. The system connects the airport with the Olympic areas.

Phase I – Applicant City

Revenue Federal Government State Government Total
Public Funds R$3,022,097.88 R$3,279,984.98 R$6,302,082.86
Private Funds R$2,804,822.16
General Total R$9,106,905.02

Phase II – Candidate City

Public revenues

Revenue Public funds
Federal government R$47,402,531.75
State government R$3,617,556.00
Municipal government R$4,995,620.93
General Total R$56,015,708.68

Private revenues

Revenue Private funds
EBX R$13,000,000.00
Eike Batista R$10,000,000.00
Bradesco R$3,500,000.00
Odebrecht R$3,300,000.00
Embratel R$3,000,000.00
TAM Airlines¹ R$1,233,726.00
General Total R$34,033,726.00

¹TAM Airlines contributed with R$1,233,726.00 in the form of discounts in air tickets.

Note: The residual balance was used to fund the first months of operation of Rio 2016 Organizing Committee.[18]


Olympics/City Investment Public Private
Olympic Park R$5.6 billion R$1.46 billion R$4.18 billion
Public Transport R$24 billion R$13.7 billion R$10.3 billion
General Total R$29.6 billion R$15.16 billion R$14.48 billion

Note: The total investment in Olympic park and public transport in Rio to the 2016 Summer Olympics.[19]

Torch relay

Torch relay in front of the Cathedral of Brasília, with the marathoner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima

The Olympic flame was lit at the temple of Hera in Olympia on 21 April 2016, the traditional start of the Greek phase of the torch relay. On 27 April the flame was handed over to the Brazilian organizers at a ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. A brief stop was made in Switzerland to visit the IOC headquarters and the Olympic Museum in Lausanne as well as the United Nations Office at Geneva.[20]

The torch relay began its Brazilian journey on 3 May at the capital Brasília. The torch relay will visit more than 300 Brazilian cities (including all the 26 states capitals and the Brazilian Federal District), with the last part to be held in the city of Rio de Janeiro,[21] lighting the cauldron during the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony on 5 August.


The ticket prices were announced on 16 September 2014, all of which will be sold in Brazilian Reals (BRL). A total of 7.5 million tickets will be sold; 200,000 tickets less compared to the 2012 Summer Olympics, because the size of many arenas is smaller. Ticket prices range from BRL 40 for many events to BRL 4,600 for the most expensive seats at the opening ceremony. About 3.8 million of these tickets will be available for BRL 70 or less.[22][23] The street events such as road cycling, race walk, and the marathon can be watched along their routes for free.

The Games

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony will take place in the Maracanã Stadium on 5 August 2016.


The 2016 Summer Olympic program features 28 sports and a total of 41 disciplines and 306 events.

New sports

Olympic Golf Course, at Barra da Tijuca

There were two open spots for sports and initially seven sports began the bidding for inclusion in the 2016 program. Baseball and softball, which were dropped from the program in 2005, karate, squash, golf, roller sports, and rugby union all applied to be included. Leaders of the seven sports held presentations in front of the IOC executive board in June 2009.[24]

In August, the executive board initially gave its approval to rugby sevens—a seven-player version of rugby union—by a majority vote, thus removing baseball, roller sports, and squash from contention. Among the remaining three—golf, karate, and softball, the board approved golf as a result of consultation. The final decision regarding the remaining two sports was made on 9 October 2009, the final day of the 121st IOC Session. A new system was in place at this session; a sport now needed only a simple majority from the full IOC committee for approval rather than the two-thirds majority previously required.[25][26] International Golf Federation executive director Antony Scanlon said that the top players, including Tiger Woods and Annika Sörenstam, would show their continued support of golf's Olympic involvement by participating in the events.[27]

The International Sailing Federation announced in May 2012 that windsurfing would be replaced at the 2016 Olympics by kitesurfing,[28] but this decision was reversed in November.[29] The IOC announced in January 2013 that it would review the status of cycling events, following Lance Armstrong's admission of using performance-enhancing drugs and accusations that the cycling's governing body had covered up doping.[30]

In contrast to the exception during the 2012 Olympics, the International Gymnastics Federation announced that these Games will have a gala event for gymnastics.[31]

Participating National Olympic Committees

The gold medal, designed for the Olympics.

201 National Olympic Committees have qualified at least one athlete. Two Independent teams will also participate, a Refugee Olympic Athletes team and a Independent Olympic Athletes team. The first three nations to qualify athletes for the Games were Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands who each qualified four athletes for the team dressage by winning medals in the team event at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games.[32]

Australian Olympic Team Uniforms for Rio 2016

As host nation, Brazil has received automatic entry for some sports including in all cycling disciplines and six places for weightlifting events.[33][34] The 2016 Summer Olympics are the first games in which Kosovo and South Sudan are eligible to participate, and Kosovo has qualified eight athletes as of July 2016.

Kuwait was banned in October 2015 for the second time in five years over government interference in the country's Olympic committee.[35]

In 2015, Russia was provisionally suspended from all international athletic competitions, including the 2016 Summer Olympics, by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) following a World Anti-Doping Agency report into doping in athletics.[36] The IAAF announced that it would allow individual Russian athletes to apply for "exceptional eligibility" to participate in the Games as "neutral" athletes under IAAF Competition Rule 22.1.A(b), if it were independently-verified that they had not engaged in doping nor the Russian doping program.[37] IOC president Thomas Bach supported the possibility of clean athletes being able to compete in Rio under the Russian flag, but the IAAF continued to insist that they be neutral.[38]

On 1 July 2016, Yuliya Stepanova was cleared to compete as an independent athlete in international competition by the IAAF; as a whistleblower of the scandal, the IAAF had commended her for her "truly exceptional contribution to the protection and promotion of clean athletes, fair play and the integrity and authenticity of the sport."[39][37][40] Darya Klishina, a long jumper who lives and trains outside Russia, was also cleared to compete as an independent athlete. However, she has not yet been cleared to compete in the Olympics by the IOC.[41][42] On 24 July 2016, following the release of a WADA report which confirmed that Russia had run a doping program across both the Summer and Winter Olympics since 2011, the IOC ruled that all Russian athletes must undergo a clearance process by their respective international federation, "taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of the athlete's sport and its rules", before they will be allowed to compete in Rio. Any athlete who had ever been sanctioned for doping will not be approved. Additionally, the IOC blocked Yuliya Stepanova from competing, ruling that "the sanction to which she was subject and the circumstances in which she denounced the doping practices which she had used herself do not satisfy the ethical requirements for an athlete to enter the Olympic Games."[43][39][44]

Due to the European migrant crisis and other reasons, the IOC will allow athletes to compete as Independent Olympians under the Olympic Flag. In the previous Olympic Games, refugees were ineligible to compete due to their inability to represent their home NOCs.[45] On 2 March 2016, the IOC finalized plans for a specific team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA); out of 43 refugee athletes deemed potentially eligible, 10 were chosen to form the team.[46]

Participating National Olympic Committees


This is currently based on the schedule released on the same day as ticket sales began, 31 March 2015.[47]

All dates are Brasília Time (UTC–3)
OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Gold medal events EG Exhibition gala CC Closing ceremony
August 3
Gold medal events
Ceremonies (opening / closing) OC CC
Archery 1 1 1 1 4
Athletics 3 5 4 5 5 4 6 7 7 1 47
Badminton 1 1 2 1 5
Basketball 1 1 2
Boxing 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 4 13
Canoeing Slalom 1 1 2 16
Sprint 4 4 4
Cycling Road cycling 1 1 2 18
Track cycling 1 2 2 1 1 3
Mountain biking 1 1
Diving 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
Equestrian 2 1 1 1 1 6
Fencing 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 10
Field hockey 1 1 2
Football 1 1 2
Golf 1 1 2
Gymnastics Artistic 1 1 1 1 4 3 3 EG 18
Rhythmic 1 1
Trampolining 1 1
Handball 1 1 2
Judo 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 14
Modern pentathlon 1 1 2
Rowing 2 4 4 4 14
Rugby sevens 1 1 2
Sailing 2 2 2 2 2 10
Shooting 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 15
Swimming 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 1 1 34
Synchronized swimming 1 1 2
Table tennis 1 1 1 1 4
Taekwondo 2 2 2 2 8
Tennis 1 1 3 5
Triathlon 1 1 2
Volleyball Beach volleyball 1 1 4
Indoor volleyball 1 1
Water polo 1 1 2
Weightlifting 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 15
Wrestling 2 2 2 3 3 2 2 2 18
Total gold medal events 12 14 14 15 20 19 24 21 22 17 25 16 23 22 30 12 306
Cumulative total 12 26 40 55 75 94 118 139 161 178 203 219 242 264 294 306
August 3
Gold medal events

Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics Head offices

The official emblem for the 2016 Summer Olympics was designed by the Brazilian agency Tatíl Design and unveiled on 31 December 2010.[48] The logo represents three figures, in the yellow, green, and blue of the Brazilian flag, joined at the arms and in a triple embrace, with the overall shape reflecting that of Sugarloaf Mountain. The logo was based on four concepts: contagious energy, harmonious diversity, exuberant nature, and Olympic spirit. The Rio firm Tatíl designed the winning entry for the logo in a competition involving 139 agencies.[49]

The logo has been noted as evoking Henri Matisse's painting Dance. There were also allegations by the Colorado-based Telluride Foundation that the logo had been plagiarized from its own. While also consisting of several figures linked in motion, the Telluride Foundation logo contains four figures. This is not the first time that the foundation had alleged plagiarism of its logo by a Brazilian event; in 2004, the linked figures element had been copied for the logo of Carnival celebrations in Salvador. Tatíl agency director Fred Gelli defended the design, stating that the concept of figures linked in embrace was not inherently original as it was "an ancient reference" and "in the collective unconscious". Gelli cited Dance as an influence of the logo's concept, and stated that the designers had intentionally aimed to make the interpretation of the concept as dissimilar to others as possible.[50]

Official mascot

Main article: Vinicius and Tom
Vinicius at the Parque Olímpico in Barra da Tijuca

The official mascots of the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled on 24 November 2014. The Olympic mascot Vinicius, named after musician Vinicius de Moraes, carries design traits of mammals and represents Brazilian wildlife. The mascots' fictional backstories state that they were both born from the joy of Brazilians after it was announced that Rio would host the Games. Brand director Beth Lula stated that the mascots are intended to reflect the diversity of Brazil's culture and people. The names of the mascots were determined by a public vote won over two other sets of names, tallying 44 percent of 323,327 votes, whose results were announced on 14 December 2014.[51][52]

Event times

Swimming heats will be held beginning at 13:00 BRT (UTC−3). Swimming finals will be held from 22:00 to 00:00 BRT. Some beach volleyball matches will begin at midnight BRT.[53] Meanwhile, each track and field morning session will include at least one final. There will be at least one final during each of the six morning sessions in the stadium. Eight stadium events will hold morning session finals, a first at the Olympics since 1988. The first is the women's 10,000m on the first day of track and field competition on Friday 12 August, one week after the Opening Ceremony. The others are the men's discus (13 August), women's 3000m steeplechase and hammer throw (15 August), men's triple jump and women's discus (16 August), men's 3000m steeplechase (17 Aug.) and men's 400m hurdles (18 Aug.).The men's 100m finals will begin at 22:35 BRT on 14 August. The women's 100m final is the night before at 22:35 BRT. The men's 200m final is Thursday 18 August at 22:30 BRT. The women's 200m final is 17 Aug at 22:30 BRT. The men's 4 × 100 m relay final is Friday 19 August at 22:35 BRT.[54][55]

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony will also take place at the Maracanã Stadium on 21 August 2016.

Concerns and controversies

Zika virus

An ongoing outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Brazil has raised fears regarding its potential impact on athletes and visitors. Organizers plan to perform daily inspections of Olympic venues to prevent puddles of stagnant water that allow mosquitoes to breed.[56] Zika virus transmission was also attributed to inefficient sewage treatment in the area, and sewage treatment is being improved in preparation for the Games.[57]

There have been numerous calls for the Games to be postponed, warning that the anticipated attendance of 500,000 international visitors could cause the virus to rapidly spread outside of the country.[58] In the first quarter of 2016, there were also more cases of the mosquito-borne Dengue fever than in 2015 alone.[59][60] Dr. Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa, writing for the Harvard Public Health Review, noted that Rio had the highest concentration of Zika infections out of all Brazilian states. He argued that the Olympics could result in a "global catastrophe" of Zika outbreaks, and asserted that it was "socially irresponsible" and "ethically questionable" to allow them to continue. On the other hand, it has been argued that the threat of Zika will not be as high during the Games, citing computer models and simulations, as well as the fact that the Games will be held during Southern Hemisphere winter, which is when mosquitoes are least active. The initial outbreak of Zika in Brazil occurred during the winter months, but in Northeastern states near the equator, where there is no winter season throughout the year. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that "there is no public health reason to cancel or delay the Olympics."[59][60][61][62]

In May 2016, a group of 150 physicians and scientists sent an open letter to the World Health Organization, calling upon them to, according to co-author Arthur Caplan, have "an open, transparent discussion of the risks of holding the Olympics as planned in Brazil". The WHO dismissed the request, stating that "cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus", and that there was "no public health justification" for postponing them.[59][60][63]

Many athletes have withdrawn from the Games citing concerns over Zika, including Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Simona Halep, Karolína Plíšková, Jason Day, Tejay van Garderen, Branden Grace, Dustin Johnson, Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Charl Schwartzel, Angelo Que and Jordan Spieth.[64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71] As the majority of the athletes that have pulled out were golfers, International Golf Federation president Peter Dawson believed that there was "something of an overreaction" to Zika, stating that "I think I should say now that I don't think it's appropriate for us to discuss individual cases, especially as they're generally decisions that have been taken on health grounds. Speaking collectively though, there is no doubt that the number of withdrawals hasn't shed golf in the best light. We have to accept that. But we do understand why these individual decisions have been taken."[71]


Marina da Glória, locale of sailing competitions

The Guanabara Bay, whose waters will be used for sailing and windsurfing competitions, is heavily polluted. Among the chief causes of the pollution are uncollected trash fed into the bay via polluted rivers and shanty towns along the coast. Pollution of the Guanabara has been a long-term issue; although officials promised at the Earth Summit in 1992 that they would begin to address the pollution, previous attempts to do so have been insufficient. As an aspect of their bid for the Games, Rio once again committed to making efforts towards cleaning the bay.[72][73] However, some of these proposed initiatives have faced budgetary issues.[74]

Prior to these efforts, only 17% of Rio's sewage was treated;[75] this raw sewage also leaked into the bay. In 2011, a new consortium took over the operations of Rio's sewage system in its western "AP5" zone as a legacy project for the Games. The consortium committed to building out upgrades to the sewage system that would reduce the amount of sewage flowing into the bay by 17 million gallons by the end of 2016. However, adoption of the new system has been slow and inconsistent due to concerns by residents over installation costs.[76] Although Mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes stated that the city may not be able to reach its goal of having 80% of sewage treated,[77] at least 60% of sewage was treated by March 2016, with a projected goal of 65% of sewage being treated by the time the Olympics start.[78]

The pollution has led to concerns over how it will affect competitions and the health of athletes, especially concerns that the polluted waterways can cause athletes to be unable to compete.[57] In 2014, sailors training in the bay told The New York Times that they had to contend with dodging various forms of trash floating in its waters, ranging from tires to dog carcasses.[72] That December, researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation found drug-resistant "super bacteria"—KPC enzymes—in samples of water from the Carioca River. They warned that "carriers can take these resistant bacteria back to their own environments and to other people, resulting in a cycle of dissemination".[77][79] In 2015, it was found that due to open drainage and severe pollution, the incidence of "disease-causing viruses" in Rio's waterways was measured to be "1.7 million times the level of what would be considered hazardous on a Southern California beach."[80] Following a test event in August 2015, German sailor Erik Heil was found to have been infected with multi-resistant bacteria that are believed to have been connected to the sewage.[75]

Political instability and economic crisis

Pro (left) and anti-Dilma Rousseff protestors (right) gather in front of the National Congress to follow the impeachment vote in the lower house on 17 April 2016.

In 2014, Operation Car Wash, an investigation by the Federal Police of Brazil, uncovered unprecedented money laundering and corruption at the state-controlled oil company Petrobras, where executives allegedly accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices. In early 2015, a series of protests against alleged corruption by the government of President Dilma Rousseff began in Brazil, triggered by revelations that numerous politicians were involved in the Petrobras affair. By early 2016, the scandal had escalated into a full-blown political crisis affecting not only President Rousseff, but also former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, resulting in massive demonstrations all over the country involving millions of protesters,[81] both anti and pro-Rousseff.[82] According to Rousseff supporters, in the name of corruption, anti-government protestors have removed the country's top leader to replace her with politicians investigated by the Car Wash who are willing to suspend the investigations.[83] Their suspicions were confirmed after Senator Romero Jucá, appointed as planning minister after Rousseff's dismissal, was caught on tape with former oil executive Sergio Machado agreeing that removing Rousseff is the only way for ending the investigation.[84] The Nation's Dave Zirin went as far as claiming that the Rio Olympics helped cement a coup d'état.[85]

At the same time, Brazil faces its worst economic recession since the 1990s, raising questions about whether the country is adequately prepared for the Games against a volatile political and economic backdrop. According to one OECD spokesperson the Brazilian recession will endure until 2018 and can only be resolved by holding new elections.[86] The IOC, in turn, has stated that it is following the political developments "very closely". On 14 April, the Olympic Security Coordination assured that the economic and political crises would not affect the security and fulfillment of the Games.[87] In his speech during the Olympic torch lighting ceremony in Olympia, IOC President Thomas Bach commented on Brazil's political situation: "This will be the Brazilian Games. Despite the difficulties that the country faces, the event will bring a message of hope to every corner of its territory and also worldwide. The Games will take place in a moment in which the world is shaken by crises. I want to pay tribute to the Brazilian people, who, in a few weeks, will welcome the world with enthusiasm and will leave everyone amazed by its joy and its passion for sports."[88]

On 12 May, President Rousseff was stripped of her powers and duties for 180 days, after an impeachment vote in the Federal Senate, thus Vice President Michel Temer will be acting president during the Games.[89] Rousseff will not be invited to attend any event during the Games. Instead, the main invitation as head of state was sent to Vice President Temer as acting president.[90] Temer's legitimacy has been questioned though. Prior to the impeachment vote, the majority of Brazilians supported holding new general elections as a way to solve the political crisis, while only 8% favored Temer's rise to power.[91] Rio-based journalist Glenn Greenwald has called the impeachment process an "anti-democratic scam that Brazilian elites have attempted to perpetrate".[83] As a result of this perception, anti-Temer protests are becoming increasingly large and intense.[83] When asked on French-Israeli channel i24news about the possible impact that the political crisis will have on the Olympic Games, federal deputy for Rio de Janeiro Jean Wyllys said that the Games will take place amidst political turmoil. "Social movements and civil society organizations will engage in acts of civil disobedience, street protests and the government will probably use its repressive forces against the population", he said. Wyllys does not believe in violence though, claiming that "social movements will respect the Olympic tourists, while holding peaceful protests against the illegitimate government".[92]


Since the award of the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, the city's crime problems have received more attention. Rio's mayor has admitted that there are "big issues" facing the city in securing the Games from violence. However, he also said that such concerns and issues were presented to the IOC throughout the bidding process.[93] The governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro also highlighted the fact that London faced security problems, with a terrorist attack occurring on the day following the IOC session that chose the city to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

F-5EM Tiger II fighter jet of the Brazilian Air Force during an air intercept training for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The IOC has expressed optimism regarding the ability of the city and the nation of Brazil to address these concerns, saying that seven years is enough time for Rio de Janeiro to clean up its crime problem.[94] IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press, "we have confidence in their capacity to deliver a safe Games in seven years. Security is of course a very important aspect of any Olympic Games no matter where it is in the world. This is of course entirely under the national, regional and city authorities."[95][96][97] Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, noted that the city has hosted other high-profile events without major incidents, for example the 2007 Pan American Games.[98]

Community-based Police Pacification Units (UPPs) will be used to build trust in individual communities through the use of street patrols and civic work.[99] Moreover, The Regional Institute of Public Safety reported that the homicide rate of Rio de Janeiro for the first five months of 2012 was at its lowest in the past 21 years, with 10.9 homicides for every 100,000 habitants.[100][101] Despite the decline in homicides and human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch urged Brazil to investigate extrajudicial killings.[102]

Despite promises for increased security, there are still security concerns in Rio, with 2,036 killings from January to April 2016.[103] On 21 May 2016, three members representing Spain were robbed at gunpoint in the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, by five youths, two of whom were armed with pistols.[104] In June 2016, one of the bodyguards for the mayor was mugged and killed while off duty; a doctor was killed while on an expressway; and the Australian Paralympic team was robbed at gunpoint.[105][103][103] Images also emerged of a shooter pointing a gun at cars on the Red Line expressway, the main road to the Olympic site;[106] gang-related shootings on the Red Line were said to be commonplace and had claimed several lives, including that of a 17-year-old girl in May.[107][108] The girl's murder and other incidents prompted some countries to consider bringing private security forces to the Olympics.[108]

On 30 June 2016, police near the Olympic beach volleyball venue in Copacabana found a foot and other body parts on the shore, possibly from "a woman or young adult" who had been killed.[105] The officers said the parts washed on the sea, triggering possible concerns about the violence in Rio.[109][103]

On 21 July 2016, two weeks before the scheduled start of the Games, Brazilian Federal Police busted an Islamic jihadist terrorist ring plotting to wreak havoc in a manner similar to the 1972 Munich massacre. 10 people allied with ISIS were arrested and two more are on the run. Additionally the terror group has been aggressively encouraging lone wolf attacks to target athletes from the UK, US, France and Israel, suggesting the use of poisons or explosives attached to drones.[110]

Infrastructure concerns

The athlete's village

On 21 April—the day that the Olympic torch was lit—a 50 metres (164 ft) section of the Tim Maia bike path, crossing the Oscar Niemeyer Avenue in São Conrado neighborhood and a part of the legacy of the games, was hit by a giant wave and collapsed. Two pedestrians fell into the ocean to their deaths,[111] and three were injured.[112] Four days after the incident, Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes announced that the Tim Maia bike path will be repaired before the Olympics, and that the companies responsible for the path will be punished.[113]

The athlete's village has been described as the largest in Olympic history. Some officials have deemed the athletes' village as 'unlivable' and unsafe due to major plumbing and electrical hazards just a fortnight before the Olympic Games are due to open. Blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed and dirty floors are among the reported problems at the some apartments in the complex. The Australian Olympic team have boycotted the village after officials deemed their assigned apartment tower blocks uninhabitable. A team of more than 500 employees of the local Olympic committee are working to fix the problems reported by the delegations.[114]


International Broadcast Centre, at Barra Olympic Park

Olympic Broadcasting Services serves as the host broadcaster for these Games; produced from a total of 52 mobile units, OBS will distribute 40,000 hours of television footage and 60,000 hours of digital footage of the Games to its international rightsholders; for the first time in Olympic history, digital-oriented footage will outnumber the amount of television-oriented footage. The International Broadcast Centre was constructed in the Barra da Tijuc cluster.[115] NHK and OBS will once again film portions of the Games, including the Opening ceremony and selected events, in 8K resolution video. Additionally, expanding upon a 180-degree trial at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics, 85 hours of video content will be originated in 360-degree virtual reality formats. This content will be available exclusively to Samsung Gear VR devices.[116] In the United States, NBC will offer 4K content, downconverted from the 8K footage and with HDR and Dolby Atmos support, to participating television providers.[117] Owing to their expertise in broadcasts of these sports, NBC and Sky New Zealand staff will handle the production of the golf and rugby sevens events.[115]

In August 2009, the IOC reached a deal to sell domestic broadcast rights to the 2016 Summer Olympics to Grupo Globo. Replacing Rede Record, the deal covers free-to-air coverage on Rede Globo, pay TV, and digital rights to the Games. In turn, Globo sub-licensed partial free-to-air rights to Rede Record, along with Rede Bandeirantes. IOC board member Richard Carrión described the agreement as "unprecedented", touting that "by working with Brazil's leading media organizations, we are confident that this represents a great deal for Olympic fans in the region. There will be a huge increase in the amount of Olympic action broadcast, both during and outside Games time, and Brazilians will have more choice of how, when and where they follow their Olympic Games."[118]


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External links

There is 1 week, 3 days, 13 hours, 29 minutes and 54 seconds until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics. (refresh)

Preceded by
Summer Olympic Games
Rio de Janeiro

XXXI Olympiad (2016)
Succeeded by