Officially called Games of the XXXI Olympiad, the major multi-sport international event will be celebrated in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the number of participating countries along with the sets of medals are increased for this particular occasion. Over 10500 athletes are expected to participate in this mega event from 206 National Olympic Committees. South Sudan and Kosovo are taking part in any Olympics for the first time in these sports. Rio Games 2016 will feature 32 Olympic sports which also includes golf and rugby, newest addition by the International Olympic Committee in 2009. 33 venues will be available across Rio and 5 additional venues will be used for the sporting events which are located in Brasilia, Salvador, Sao Paulo, Manaus and Belo Horizonte. The number of medals this time around are 306 sets for these 28 sports.
Rio de Janeiro was announced as the host city on 2nd October, 2009 at the 121st IOC session which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Rio was picked from the list of finalists which included Tokyo, Japan; Madrid, Spain and Chicago, United States. This makes Rio de Janeiro the first South American city to host the mega event and second city in Latin America after Mexico City that hosted it back in the year 1968. Rio is also the first in the Southern Hemisphere to host the Olympics since the year 2000. After Mexico in 1968 and in South Korea in 1988, this is the 3rd time the multi sport event is taking place in a developing country.
Barra da Tijuca will be hosting most of the part of the games of Olympic and Paralympic 2016 and will also house the Olympic Village. The three other zones to host the Games will be Deodoro, Copacabana Beach and Maracana. The historical downtown of Rio is going through a waterfront revitalization on a massive scale. The project named Porto Maravilha will redevelop the port which will increase the attractiveness of city center and will enhance the city’s competitiveness in the global economy. A new tram will also be built as part of this renovation project that will connect Santos Dumont Airport with Rodoviaria Novo Rio and is scheduled to be open in April this year.
Since the announcement as the host, Rio’s crime issues have received much attention. In an incident a police helicopter was shot down which killed the pilot during the one of many drug wars. The mayor of the city has admitted that there are some major problems that are to be resolved while keeping the event secure from the violence. He also added that these concerns were consistently put forward to the Olympic committee during the process of bidding. However, the states governor in Rio also indicated the point that London also faced many security issues and a terrorist attack occurred on the day after the IOC session which selected the city for 2012 Olympic Games. Nonetheless, the session has expressed confidence in the city and the nation to address these concerns with authority saying that seven years is enough for the city to resolve the crime issues. The city has planned to pacify the local neighborhoods through civic work and street points. The Regional Institute of Public Safety has reported a drop in city’s homicide rate as well.
The prices for the tickets were announced on 16th September, 2014 and a total of 7.5 million will be sold, which is 200,000 less than the previous event held in London. The price ranges from BRL 40 (Brazilian Reals) to BRL 4600 which is price for the most expensive seats at the opening ceremony. More than half of the total number of the tickets will be available for less than BRL 70 while the events like the marathon, race walk and road cycling can be watched for free. The torch relay will start its journey on 3rd May 2016 starting from Brasilia and will visit over 300 Brazilian cities ending in Rio de Janeiro. The opening ceremony will take place on 5th August 2016 in Maracana Stadium while the closing ceremony will also take place in this stadium on 21st August, 2016.
There are some dark clouds lurking over the Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016 as fear grows over the spreading of Zika virus that has resulted in shrunken heads of over 4000 new born babies. The athletes and the female spectators with childbearing age have been warned by the medical officials as countries across the globe to rethink their decision to go to Brazil for the mega event. Another prime concern for the participants is the water pollution in the city as trash strews across the beaches. During a test event in August 2015 a sailor from Germany was infected with germs which might have been caused by the polluted water.