(ATR) The Olympic flag will soon be on its way from London to Rio De Janeiro – and with it, high expectations as well as challenges for the Brazilian hosts.
Just as the grandeur and scale of Beijing set a marker for London, the orderly and on-time preparation in the British capital will set a standard for Rio to follow. With the IOC growing worried about delays in Rio, London can serve as an example of how to get it done.
With the style, structure and politics of Olympic preparation different in Brazil, the challenge will be to make the timetable of milestones fit the way things are done in Rio De Janeiro.
London showed it was Beijing’s equal and more when it came to the opening ceremony. With its own cast of thousands and drummers by the ton, London wielded humor and narrative that has many acclaiming London as the best-ever opening ceremony.
Rio has plenty of potential to top London in the ceremony department with its heritage as the host every year of the world’s greatest Carnival celebration. The rich culture of Brazil – Latin, African and indigenous – should provide a spectacular source of inspiration for Rio organizers.
Spectacular, too, is the setting of Rio De Janeiro. London may have Big Ben, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. But those edifices pale in some ways to the natural showstoppers of Rio – Sugar Loaf, the mountains , the Atlantic Ocean. Indeed, the Rio Olympics will be the first-ever staged with the Atlantic as a backdrop.
The London Olympics were seen as a driver to rebuild and renew the economically deprived neighborhoods of East London where the Olympic Park is now located. For Rio, the social legacy of the 2016 Olympics may be measured in the changes the Games could bring to the notorious favelas that dot the city.
Great Britain has used the 2012 Games to boost its profile across the range of Olympic sports, to great effect. Brazil has the same opportunity as well to climb the medals table in 2016, but results for the team in London would suggest the Brazilians need to step up their game.
A milestone in 2014 will serve as an early test of preparation for the Games, the FIFA World Cup. While held around Brazil, Rio De Janeiro will be the center of activity. The staging of the event should give some early signals as to Rio’s readiness – with enough time to cure any weaknesses exposed by the football tournament.
From a history rich land that’s now hosted three Olympics, the Games travel south to a new world. The journey should be a fascinating one.
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