Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rio Next for Olympics

Looking South to Rio

Now that the Sochi games have ended, Olympic junkies are looking to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.  The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are scheduled from August 5 to 21 and the center of  operations will be in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood in the southwest section of the city right on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a newly developed and affluent area that is considered safer than other areas of the city.  Rio is a city influenced by many different cultures and Barra da Tijuca is said to be most American.  

There are three other Olympic zones in Rio where events will take place.   A second is Copacabana in the south of the city, home to the huge Copacabana Beach.  Copacabana has many hotels, restaurants, and night spots.

Deodoro, a neighborhood in the west of Rio is a third Olympic zone. This area has facilities that were used for the 2007 Pan American Games so there is much that can be adapted.  Never-the-less, much construction will be required to meet the needs of the Olympic games.

Maracanã is the a fourth Olympic zone in Rio--it is in northern section of the city, the heart of Rio de Janeiro close to the City Centre.  Maracanã is the site of the Maracanã Stadium, the Sambódromo, and the João Havelange Olympic Stadium.  The Maracanã Stadium will be the venue for Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Originally constructed in 1950 for the FIFA World Cup, Maracanã stadium and its surrounding area are being completely upgraded for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in advance of the 2016 Games. So essentially the stadium improvements have to be in place two years before the Olympics. Gross seating capacity at the games is 90,000 according to the official Rio Olympic site. Some believe this "need to be operational" well before the Olympics helped land the games in Rio.

Sambódromo is Rio's permanent parade ground aligned with permanent bleachers.  The Joao Havelange Stadium is less than a decade old and will host many track events once it undergoes repairs and improvements.  

Fighting Crime in Advance of the Games

A big concern for many observers before Rio was awarded the 2016 Olympic games was the crime rate in the city.   The U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) established under authority of the Secretary of State,  looks over U.S. private sector security needs overseas. The OSAC reports on its web site that the Brazilian government has been working hard to fight crime and improve conditions in the slums or favelas in Rio de Janeiro where the crime rate has been exceptionally high.  According to OSAC, the government has been going into the 1000 Rio favelas with large numbers of personnel trained in community policing and has been taking control of these areas so that the government can provide much needed social services and aid.  At the same time, the criminals have been aggressively rounded up. Prior to this pacification effort, criminals walked openly in these areas with weapons in full view.

Master Plan for Rio 2016

The Olympics require so much change to the hosting location that master plans are required to include transitioning from Olympic events to post Olympic use. The London based firm, AECOM, is directing the master plan for Rio's 2016 Olympic games. The plan was created along with Rio-based DG Architecture, as well as Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Pujol Barcelona Architects, Expedition, and IMG Sports and Entertainment.   AECOM’s master plan zeros in on about 300 acres of land in Barra de Tijuca. It addresses the Rio Olympic Park area during the 2016 Games and is followed by a transition plan and the final plan to position the site for use long after 2016.
Barra da Tijuca will host 15 Olympic sports competitions and 11 Paralympic contests. The Media Center will be constructed there to host 20,000 journalists. As it did in London, AECOM's role in Rio spans masterplanning, engineering, cost-consulting, transportation strategy, sustainability consulting, and landscape design.  In Rio, AECOM is also providing preliminary architectural design for seven sporting venues and detailed design for the International Broadcasting Center.

Copyright 2014, Sporting Chance Press