Olympic Champions

Action from the National Paralympic Day 2015 at The London Aquatics Centre.
Action from the National Paralympic Day 2015 at The London Aquatics Centre.

It seems a short time since Olympic fever swept the nation as London hosted the 2012 Olympic Games. But the clock was already ticking on the next Olympiad.

At the capital’s spectacular closing ceremony, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, formally handed the Olympic flag to Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro.

This summer, the eyes of the world will be on Rio de Janiero as it hosts the 2016 Olympic Games. More than 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will compete from August 5 to 21 in the first Olympics Games to be held in South America. In all, 42 sports will be contested across 32 competition venues spread across four regions of the city under the watchful gaze of the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Second only to Track and Field in the number of medals, Aquatic sports are high profile and all key events will be centrally held in the main Olympic Park in order to attract the maximum number of spectators.

The new Olympic Aquatics Stadium will host swimming, Paralympic swimming and the latter stages of the water polo competition. The Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, previously constructed for the 2007 Pan American Games, will be used for diving, synchronised swimming and the preliminary water polo matches.

Following their pivotal role in the development of the London Olympic Park, global design and engineering giant AECOM produced the winning Rio 2016 Olympic Park urban master plan. Around 120 hectares of land on a triangular, lagoon-side peninsula in the district of Barra de Tijuca, southwest of Rio, has been developed to form the heart of the Games. New permanent facilities have been built around existing venues. Post-Games these venues will combine to form South America’s first Olympic Training Centre and a global centre of sporting excellence. Core to AECOM’s plan has been the intention to ‘harness the power sports have to become a catalyst for urban renewal’.

At least 60% of the area will be freed up for future developments. At the time of securing the contract AECOM Chairman and CEO John M. Dionisio said: “AECOM is very proud to be helping the city of Rio de Janeiro build a lasting legacy with its master plan.

“We are excited that our work will improve the quality of life for the city’s residents, businesses and visitors.”

Sustainability is at the heart of the planning for this summer’s Games. Rio has a hard act to follow in London 2012, which set out to be ‘the most sustainable Olympic Games of modern times’ and offers a benchmark for success. Almost four years later, the Organising Committee of the Rio Games is already working hard to deliver tangible socio-economic benefits in some of the most underprivileged neighbourhoods in the world. Talk of legacy is no longer enough.

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