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  • Commentary -- Rio at 100 Miles Per Hour


    As the curtain comes down on the Winter Olympic Games, we at the Rio 2016 Organising Committee would like to congratulate the Sochi team for a wonderful celebration of sport.

    Though the Olympic bar has certainly been set high once again, we are ready for the challenge of hosting the next edition of the Olympic and Paralympic Games here in Brazil.

    Members of our committee had the opportunity to experience the Sochi Games first hand as observers – allowing us to see the high level of planning and logistical expertise in person. Rio 2016 was represented in Sochi by 64 observers on the official observers programme– watching, listening, asking questions, learning - and a further seven employees have been working for the Sochi organising committee, performing the roles they will undertake in Rio in 2016 – arrivals and departures, transport, information technology, doping control, venue management, rate card and Olympic village operations.

    Rio 2016 president Carlos Nuzman (Getty Images)
    We will take these experiences and insights and apply them to our planning and preparations for the 2016 Games,which we will deliver with unique Brazilian style.

    We are already working at a hundred miles per hour here in Rio. With almost two and a half years to go, we are making solid progress and are fully on track with all project timelines. Together with our partners in government we are working at an intense pace as infrastructure is being developed, venues are being constructed, and the Olympic Village is rising, as can be seen in our latest video.

    As work continues and tangible improvements are made, anticipation is rising amongst sport fans and the general public alike. Brazil understands that hosting the Games is both a challenge and an honour, as well as a unique opportunity for our country, and that it is our time, as Brazilians, to share our passion and energy for sport with the world.

    Joao Havelange Stadium will host athletics at Rio 2016. (Getty Images)
    Following last month´s very positive and productive visit from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who met with the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, we are now looking forward to updating the IOC Coordination Commission on our progress when they visit Rio next month.

    President Bach shared his enthusiasm and confidence for the Games in Rio, and highlighted important elements of the Games legacy, including the human aspects: a new spirit of volunteering, education through sport, in addition to improvements in transport, sport facilities, and the urban environment.

    This year promises to be an exciting one for Rio 2016. In April we will launch our education programme, aiming to inspire the youth of Brazil with the Olympic and Paralympic values. We will also open the volunteer programme – seeking to find, select and train 70,000 Games volunteers who will become the face of the Games and infuse visitors with our special Brazilian spirit.

    Another way in which we will engage the Brazilian and global audiences this year will be through the unveiling of the Olympic and Paralympic mascot. The Ticketing Portal will also be introduced for group sales, a step towards the magical moment of holding a ticket to the Games in your hand. We expect these initiatives to draw attention to the Games and further increase public interest and participation.

    Rio 2016 executives took note of what made Sochi a success. (Getty Images)
    In August we will host our first official test event:an international sailing competition at Marina da Gloria – we know the importance of testing and will be making the most of this first opportunity. Of course, Brazil is hosting the FIFA World Cup in June and July. While a victory for Brazil would be the dream result for many people here, whatever the outcome, we are sure that the competition will heighten anticipation and excitement for the 2016 Games.

    We have a strong, professional and experienced team in place here at Rio 2016, led by CEO Sidney Levy, and we are confident we will meet the many challenges that lie ahead on our journey.We are ready, prepared and looking forward to hosting unique and memorable first Games in South America.

    As we say goodbye to the Sochi Olympics, we look forward to welcoming the Olympic Movement to Rio in less than two and a half years.

    Carlos Nuzman is president of Rio 2016.

    Homepage photo: Getty Images

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