OBSERVER PROGRAMME: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Village is praised; the space will have the look of Rio in 2016

Director Mario Cilenti comments on the specificities of each edition of the Games regarding the athletes’ accommodation

Send to a friend

(Photo: Rio 2016™)
(Photo: Rio 2016™)

The amount of knowledge acquired by observers during more than 40 days in London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be indispensable; however, Rio 2016™ will have the carioca look and warmth of a tropical country that was virtually unknown by many people up until recently. For the athletes, the stars of the party, the atmosphere will be symbolised in the Olympic Village; this is the analysis and expectation of Mario Cilenti, Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Village and NOC/NPC Relations and Services Director.

Check out below Cilenti’s comments on the last edition of the Games prior to Rio 2016™ Games:

2012 London Village and the differences for Rio 2016™

“London 2012 Games focused on the athletes as the stars of the Games. As for the Village, the organisation also puts strong emphasis on the athletes and their basic needs. The Village was excellent and very functional. We will certainly repeat some of their procedures, and will also have to innovate, because this innovation is possible in Rio. In London, the area takes up 40 hectares. Our Village will be bigger, with a 60-hectare area. Rio’s Village will reflect the carioca environment, the city’s atmosphere. It will have a swimming pool, extra outdoor activities which were not included here due to climate and temperature conditions. The Village here has the look of London; it is a complex that will be left as a legacy for future sale with the same standards of local properties. In Rio, the Village will have the look of a high-class condominium complex in Barra da Tijuca. We will convey this concept to the athletes.”

Transition from the Olympic Games to the Paralympic Games

“In general, a Paralympic Village is built to be also used during the Olympic Games. This is the logics behind it. With only five days between the closing of the Olympic Village and the opening of the Paralympic Village, there is not much you can do. During these days, visual signaling and the look of the Village undergo changes, with the assembly of additional areas required during the Paralympic Games, just as Otto Bock – sponsor of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), providing services to users of wheelchairs, prostheses and other materials used by the athletes. An average of 120 to 150 services is provided on a daily basis. Despite this, the service level remains constant. The welcoming ceremony is the same, the International Zone, the meals, the gym; the level of service is exactly the same.”

Differences in the operation

“During the Olympic Games, the Olympic Village hosts approximately 16 thousand people. During the Paralympic Games, this number drops by half, including athletes, officials and referees. With this, the buildings’ lowest stories are used to facilitate mobility and minimize the impact on lifts due to wheelchair users. However, the whole building and offices are used by the Paralympic Committees. Some are located in the same place of the respective Olympic Committees. Such materials are often left for the Paralympic Committee, as well as catering and medical stations. Everything is left assembled. We also have some Committees which are both Olympic and Paralympic – the United States being the largest.”

Imagem Rio 2016

Residential zone of the London 2012 Olympic Village (Photo: Rio 2016™)

Particularities of Olympic and Paralympic athletes

“They are different clients because they have a distinct behavior in the Village. During the Olympic Games, athletes go out quite often. The Paralympic athletes stay in the Village for longer periods, usually in groups. They often gather the whole team to go out for lunch. During the Paralympic Games, the technical officials live in the Village. During the Olympic Games, the athlete arrives two days before the competition and leaves shortly after competing. In the Paralympic Games, they usually arrive for the opening and stay until the Games’ closing.”

Participation of athletes in the Rio 2016™ Organising Committee

“It is great to have athletes in the team, because they used to be clients, and now they are providers for the future Rio 2016™ clients. In our National Committees’ Service team, we have Bruno Souza from handball, and will eventually increase the number of team members. He is still in the adaptation phase. He stopped playing a few months ago, went through surgery and sped up his recovery to be with us in London. This has been an excellent learning opportunity for him. The athletes usually receive everything ready, they don’t realise what goes on behind stage. Now he is learning what it takes to deliver that level of service.”


“We did a good job with the Rio 2016™ Sponsors Service. We took some existing partners and other potentials to show the Village, how daily life is and talk about the available opportunities to provide a service. Indirectly, to showcase their brand and product. It is not possible, for example, to bring a car and let people be photographed next to it. The car has to offer some form of entertainment or amusement, or some service for the athletes. The only way to be around is by providing some kind of service. From that point, it is a matter of being creative. Indirectly, they will be exposing and showcasing the brand. What matters is that we are already talking to them four years ahead.”

Imagem Rio 2016

Photo: Rio 2016™

Next Steps

“By the time London is over, our lives will get busier. There will be more Committees visiting Rio. We have already been receiving Committees for more than a year, but now it is (or visits are) bound to increase a lot. Our Committees’ Assistance team will grow in proportion to the demand. At the Village’s side, we already have an approved master plan. Now, with our remarks from London, we star to dig deeper into the details, some points that we can change and improve even more. Our job now is to follow up the work in progress, which has started in June. The first condominiums foundations are far advanced.”

Expectations for Rio 2016™

““There is great eagerness. A lot of people have never been to Rio, Brazil or South America. The amount of people that have never been to South America is surprising, even amongst Olympic Committees members, usual travelers. For them, it is like stepping into an entirely different world. For this reason, I believe we will have a lot of visits before the Games. London is widely known. They are expecting a big party, warmth, a very different kind of passion. There are high expectations on the experience as a whole, in addition to the sport event. The technical area is defined by both the IOC and IPC. The experience of our athletes, technical officials and public will make us stand out. This is not worse or better; this is different. Each edition of the Games has its own particularities, and this is what makes it so special.”

Send to a friend

Filter in News


Register and receive the latest Rio 2016 news in your inbox.

Most viewed
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5


The latest news on Rio 2016™ on time for you.