Countdown to the Olympics: A take on the Rio games from a local’s perspective

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016

Maracana StadiumAn interview with Luana Ozelim Broshears

(Picture: Maracana Stadium, Source: www.theguardian.com)

How exciting is it that the Rio Olympics is the first Olympics in South America in the event’s 120-year history! In 2009 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Rio de Janeiro would host the 2016 Summer Olympics. With Brazil being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, at that time, it was a good choice.

Originally, the estimated cost to bring the Olympics to Rio in 2016 was around $14 billion, including the stadiums that would need to be built, transportation and infrastructure improvements, Olympic installations, security and logistics. Currently the cost is at about $20 billion and climbing.

Big events such as the Olympic Games involve more than just sports, and engineering plays one of the main roles in the process. Bringing the games to a developing country helps build an infrastructure that can be a long-term benefit to the country.

Here are just some of the improvements in Rio:

  • The Rio de Janeiro Light Rail is a wonderful improvement to the city. The first line of the system opened in June 2016. Congestion is a huge problem in the city, so increasing the capacity of passengers by 300,000/day moving from point A to B is a very good thing. It will have six lines, 56 stops and span 28km.
  • The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Transolimpica will reduce travel times in the area by 80%. It will serve an estimated 70,000 passengers/day.
  • The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Transoeste was the first line to open in the Rio de Janeiro BRT system. It spans 59km, moves an estimated 120,000 passengers/day and reduces travel time by 50%.
  • There have been many road improvements in the area including but not limited to: road widening, elevated roads and tunnels to decrease congestion. Bicycle lanes are a new addition as well.
  • Environmental benefits include structural improvements to avoid flooding in risky areas. Approximately 350,000 people will benefit from these improvements.
  • There have also been some sewer system improvements near the Olympic facilities. This will not only benefit the Olympic facilities but also help around 232,000 people that live in that area.

Aside from the main Olympic structures and its immediate surrounding area, improvements were also made to the a During the games, it is expected that more than 1 million passengers will travel through Brazilian airports. Improvements have been made to runway pavement, drainage systems and terminals.

Although the project is coming in over budget many good things will come from having Rio as the host city for the 2016 games.  Aside from the immediate engineering and infrastructure that people notice around the world, the employment the games bring for locals is also a positive for the Brazilian economy.  Taxi and Uber drivers are excited and it will be a lot of work for them.  And with the Olympics bringing so many people to the city, they are increasing the number of hotels with hopes the Olympics will give them a positive experience and increase the tourism to that area.

The 2016 Rio Olympics is getting close, with two days to go until the opening ceremonies. Held at one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, it should be a wonderful opportunity and experience for the country and all that are involved.

“You can already feel the Olympic energy here in the airport, in the city, with all the smiling volunteers full of excitement,” said Thomas Bach, IOC President. “That’s because of the host nation and its people.”

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