2016 Summer Olympics
The 2016 Summer Olympics (Portuguese: Jogos Olímpicos de Verão de 2016),[a] officially known as the Games of the 31st Olympiad and commonly known as Rio 2016, was a major international multi-sport event held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 August to 21 August 2016.
More than 11,000 athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees, including first time entrants Kosovo, South Sudan, and the Refugee Olympic Team, took part. With 306 sets of medals, the games featured 28 Olympic sports, including rugby sevens and golf, which were added to the Olympic program in 2009. These sporting events took place at 33 venues in the host city, and at five in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília, and Manaus.
These were the first Summer Olympic Games under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) presidency of Thomas Bach. The host city Rio de Janeiro was announced at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 2 October 2009. Rio became the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics. These were the first games to be held in a Portuguese-speaking country, the first to be held entirely in the host country’s winter, the first since 1968 to be held in Latin America, and the first since 2000 to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.
The lead-up to these Games was marked by controversies, including the instability of the country’s federal government; health and safety concerns surrounding the Zika virus and significant pollution in the Guanabara Bay; and a doping scandal involving Russia, which affected the participation of its athletes in the Games.
The United States topped the medal table for the fifth time in the past six Summer Olympics, winning the most golds (46) and most medals overall (121), as well as its 1,000th Olympic gold medal overall. Great Britain finished second and became the first country in the history of the modern Olympics to increase its tally of medals in the subsequent games after being the host nation. China finished third. Host country Brazil won seven gold medals, its most at any single Summer Olympics, finishing in thirteenth place. Fiji, Jordan, Kosovo, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Tajikistan, Ivory Coast and Vietnam each won their first gold medals, as did the group of Independent Olympic Athletes.
The bidding process for the 2016 Olympic Games was officially launched on 16 May 2007. 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, because of their intent of hosting the Olympics in October, outside of the IOC’s sporting calendar. Prague and Baku also failed to make the cut.
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.
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
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.
The medal design was unveiled on 15 June 2016; they were produced by the Casa da Moeda do Brasil. The bronze and silver medals contained 30% recycled materials, while the gold medals were produced using gold that had been mined and extracted using means that met a series of sustainability criteria, such as being extracted without the use of mercury. The medals feature a wreath design, while the obverse, as is traditional, features Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. They were accompanied by a wooden carrying box, while medallists also received a trophy of the Games’ emblem
Rio’s historical downtown is undergoing a large-scale urban waterfront revitalization project called Porto Maravilha. 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 competitive 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 was built from the Santos Dumont Airport to Rodoviária Novo Rio. It was due to open in April 2016.
The Games required more than 200 kilometres of security fencing. A 15,000 square metre warehouse in Barra da Tijuca in western Rio was 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, contained all the equipment needed for the sporting events
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.
The torch relay began its Brazilian journey on 3 May at the capital Brasília. The torch relay visited more than 300 Brazilian cities (including all the 26 states capitals and the Brazilian Federal District), with the last part held in the city of Rio de Janeiro, lighting the cauldron during the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony on 5 August.
Unpaid volunteers performed a variety of tasks before and during the Games. A target of 50,000 volunteers was set as early as 2012. When recruitment took place in 2014, over 240,000 applications were received. The volunteers wore clothing which included yellow polo shirts and jackets, beige trousers, white socks and green trainers which they collected from the Uniform Distribution and Accreditation Centre. But many volunteers have stopped to due long working hours and one free meal a day. Volunteers also wore photo accreditation badges which were also worn by officials, athletes, family members and media which gain them access to specific venues and buildings around the site.
by simon schofield