As each day passes, the Rio 2016 Games are increasingly present in the daily lives of cariocas and people throughout Brazil. About a year and a half from now, the city will experience 29 days of intense excitement as 65 world championships take place, starring the world’s top athletes, watched by a combined audience of some five billion people and demanding a logistical operation the likes of which Rio de Janeiro has never seen.
And just what do the Brazilian population think of all this? The Rio 2016 Organising Committee decided to go out onto the streets and ask them. The result was a survey conducted by Nielsen showing that three out of four Brazilians (76%) are aware that the next Games will be staged here, 65% of those interviewed were in favour of hosting the Games in Rio, and over 12 million Brazilians would like to be in the city to experience the Games.
In other words, the Brazilian people are greeting the Games with enthusiasm and excitement. And what most people do not realise is that this engagement is the outcome of a series of initiatives developed by the committee – because the Games, rather than being merely a sporting event, seek to promote values such as respect, friendship and excellence (the Olympic values) and courage, determination, inspiration and equality (the Paralympic values).
Some of these initiatives are already up and running. Others are about to begin.
Volunteer Programme – has provided the most convincing evidence yet that the public is engaged with the Games: more than 240,000 people have registered.
Education Programme – has already benefitted 168 schools and more than 100,000 pupils in Rio de Janeiro. The objective of the programme is to promote Olympic and Paralympic values to teachers, school children and their families, underlining the fundamental roles of these groups in society.
Ticketing Programme – 7.5 million tickets will be sold, over half of them at a price of less than R$ 70 (about US$27). Brazilian residents can even pay in instalments. The idea is to ensure that everyone has the chance to experience the event inside the arenas.
Mascots – these cuddly ambassadors for the Games give life and personality to the event. Inspired by Brazilian animals and plants, Vinícius and Tom were named after legendary Bossa Nova composers Vinícius de Moraes and Tom Jobim, after a public vote.
Test events – a chance for the public and athletes to get a taste of the Games before the main event begins, as well as an opportunity for the organising committee to test the venues and ensure that everything runs smoothly during the Games. A total of 45 test events will take place in the run-up to Rio 2016, 21 of them this year.
Culture Programme – with admission-free, accessible activities throughout the city, the programme aims to celebrate Brazilian culture, showing the world the best of the host nation. The public will be invited to participate by submitting suggestions for projects.
Licensed products – more than 12,000 different licensed products will be on sale at various locations throughout the city, offering the public a personal souvenir from the Rio 2016 Games.
Torch relay – a long-standing Olympic tradition that aims to spread the energy of the Rio 2016 Games across the country.
Live sites – these public spaces will enable people to get together and watch the Rio 2016 competitions with family and friends in a party atmosphere.
Ceremonies – the public will be invited to experience these unforgettable celebratory events, permeated with the flavour of Brazil, that will open and close the Rio 2016 Games.
The Rio 2016 Organising Committee is responsible for all these initiatives, but they hark back to the era when the modern Olympic Games began, over a century ago, and the real reason this event is staged. In 1896, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French educationalist inspired to revive the Olympic Games by Greek ideas, believed that sport could be a decisive factor in the moral education and fulfilment of human beings. He saw the Games as a way of disseminating this philosophy throughout the world, promoting not just sport, but also education, culture and friendship between peoples.
Now it is you turn to participate in this great celebration. Do you want to make history?