If you had four days to stroll around Rio de Janeiro, what would you do? Take in some of the world-renowned sights? Christ the Redeemer, Copacabana beach, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Maracanã Stadium? Enjoy the cool music, warm weather and even warmer welcome of Rio’s people?
The mascots of the London 2012, Beijing 2008, Athens 2004 and Moscow 1980 Games – who are in town to meet the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games mascots – decided to do just that. From the moment that Wenlock, Mandeville, Fu Niu Lele, Athena and Misha landed at Rio International Airport (below), samba dancing their way into the arrivals hall, they have spread magic all around the city. Kids and adults alike have stopped to say hi, have a cuddle and take a selfie. Even those of us working behind the scenes have been swept up in the emotion of it.
From the airport we went straight to the first stop of the tour: Vista Chinesa, a viewing point from high up in Tijuca Forest that has a Chinese-style shelter, and from where the majesty of Rio spreads out in front of you. Needless to say, Fu Niu Lele felt at home and was a major success with the crowd there (below).
The second day was even more exciting… the Sugarloaf, Christ the Redeemer and Copacabana beach. Yes, all this in one day! In order to plan and deliver this three-day tour, the organising committee had assembled a crack team, with members of the communications, marketing, events and brand management departments.
The Sugarloaf (below) was the first stop, where we had a party with local school children, who starred in some of the cutest moments of the tour…
Then we divided into two groups, the first taking Fu Niu Lele to the top of Corcovado Mountain to see one of the seven wonders of the modern world: the Christ the Redeemer statue (below).
The second group took Misha, the Russian bear who won the hearts of the world by crying at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games closing ceremony, to Copacabana beach (below). Of course, it was very hot there for an animal with all that fur, but Misha managed to stay cool in classic carioca style – by sipping the juice from a fresh, chilled coconut.
Saturday is party day and we had a schedule that was fitting. First stop: the famous, Maracanã Stadium (below), which will stage the opening and closing ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Games.
Another major operation there! Check out the team we brought together to make it happen!
From there, we went straight to Quinta da Boa Vista (below) to learn a little about the history of the host city of the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America.
And what better way to close the day than a visit to Lapa – Rio’s cultural, gastronomic and musical centre (below). And to the delight of the locals, our mascot friends again showed that it is not only Brazilians who can samba!
Phew! So the mascots’ tour is almost over. But the best part is still to come – the unveiling of the Rio 2016 mascots and one final big party. We’re almost there now. What do you think the new mascots will be like?
Stay tuned to rio2016.com to find out. Coming very soon! And check out the best moments of the Friends of the Rio 2016 Mascots Tour in our photo gallery.