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2016 Summer Olympics

by Glenn Cowan

Friday August 5th sees the commencement of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, or Rio 2016 to you and I.There are a number of firsts associated to this particular Olympics.

It will will be the first Summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Thomas Bach. Rio will become the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics. The first for a games to be held entirely during the host country’s Winter Season and the first to be held since 2000 in the Southern Hemisphere.

Bidding process

Four Cities submitted bids to hold this year's Olympics and as normal there were three rounds of voting that took place before the eventual winner was unveiled. Chicago were eliminated after picking up just 18 first round votes. Tokyo the next to go in the second round, leaving Madrid and Rio to battle it out for the crown.

There were quite a lot of restrictions put in place of the bidding cities this time around. One of the most important elements was that there should be no direct influence give to any of the 115 voting members. Cities were not allowed to invite any International Olympic Committee (IOC) members to visit. In addition to this they weren’t allowed to send anything that could be constructed as a gift. This didn’t stop the cities from lavishing huge sums of monies on sports media and general international media campaigns. These monies found their way via the various PR and media programs that were being run by the official campaign centres.

Project Rio

Almost as soon as the results of the bid was announced, Rio sprung into much needed action to improve its waning infrastructure.A large scale investment in the historical downtown area has seen the birth of the Porto Maravilha project. The main coverage here is to dramatically develop the port area and increase the city centre”s attractiveness.Urban renovation involved some 700 km of public networks for water supply, drainage, gas, electricity and telecommunications. 15,000 Trees were planted as well as three sanitation treatments plants.

Venues and Infrastructure

The athletes village is thought to be the biggest built in Olympic history. The first of many thousands of athletes and team officials will start moving into the village on the 24th July. There are 31 apartment buildings, some of which are as high as 17 floors. This will be the home to more than 17,000 athletes for their entire time in the games. Facilities are such that it is thought the guests won’t need to consider going outside. All day to day conveniences are covered, including laundries, convenience stores, beauty salon, hairdressers, post office and even a bank.

A round-the-clock dining hall is anticipated to provide in excess of 60,000 meals per day. The gym facilities are what you would expect with just under 2,000 square meters of allocated space for athletes to take advantage of, 24 hours a day. The Maracanã Stadium will host both the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as holding the finals of the football tournament. Athletic events will be held in the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange,

Technology

Cisco are the official supporter for both the Olympics & Paralympics in Rio. All networking equipment including mobile and fixed broadband equipment, IP routers and networking security solutions will be supplied by the tech giant.

Unveiled for the first time courtesy of Getty Images will be a brand new technology from Mark Roberts Motion Control. It is thought these new robotic cameras will show a whole new side to Olympic Sports. Traditionally cameras were installed into the roof area and although images were good, they were fairly hit & miss, without much in the way of adjustments available. However, this new technology means that the odds of capturing something spectacular have been greatly improved.

Security

Crime has definitely come under the spotlight since the award to host the games was made.

Even the Mayor of Rio has voiced concerns that there are ‘big issues” facing the city. However, the IOC were made aware of these concerns during the bidding process itself.

Of course, it should be noted that Rio is no stranger to hosting global events, with the recent World Cup taking place there in 2014.

The Zika Virus

Alert level 2 has been activated in Brazil to help deal with the Zika virus. Local transmission means that mosquitoes are capable of spreading the virus when coming into contact with humans. Although it is thought that the mosquitoes that spread Zika don’t live at elevations of about 2,000 Meters due to environmental conditions. Travellers to elevations higher than this are only thought to be at minimal risk of getting Zika from a mosquito.

The biggest worries come from pregnant women, who can pass the Zika virus to their unborn babies resulting in serious birth defects. It is believed that sexual transmission of the Zika virus from a male partner is also possible. There have been a number of high-profile withdrawals from Rio with the likes of golfer Rory Mcllroy, Adam Scott, Marc Leishgman and Vijay Sign all deciding not to attend the Olympics. As well as high profile golfers, there has also been a spate of NBA stars dropping out. Names like Steph Curry, LaMarcus and Russel Westbook have all announce they will miss the event.

State of Public Calamity!

If the Zika virus wasn’t enough to contend with, on June 17th the state of Rio de Janeiro declared a “state of public calamity”. This essentially boils down to a financial crisis that will prevent the state from honoring its commitments to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It is believed that the crisis is that severe it could bring about a total collapse in health, education, public security and also environmental management.

No Russian Athletes

On top of the above, the entire track and field team from Russia has been barred from taking place in Rio.This decision comes on the back of recent well documented issues with anti-drug testing.A report had been produced stating that 236 tests required from Russian athletes were either cancelled or declined dating between Nov 2015 & June 2016.

One thing is for sure, Rio will certainly be a headline grabbing games but hopefully for the right reasons ! Watch this space….