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Update: On the Ground in Rio

Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games

January 2016: As we enter into an Olympic year, the GMR office in Rio de Janeiro is getting busier by the day with client work ramping up ahead of the Games. But what is happening on the ground in Rio? And how ready is the country to host the globe’s biggest sporting event? Let's take a look. 

Local News

The biggest news to come out of Rio this week has been the outbreak of the Zika Virus. The Rio 2016 Organising Committee believes the threat of Zika will be lessened during the Olympics due to the change in season. They are working closely with the Brazilian Ministry of Health to monitor the conditions and take measures to prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne virus.

Celebrating diversity and equality, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Torch was unveiled in December. The torch follows the same design as the Olympic Torch and celebrates the passion and transformation of Rio 2016. With the four Paralympic values inscribed on its side in Braille, the torch will spread the spirit of the Games across Brazil.

The Brazilian government has announced that tourists from the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan have been added to the list of nationalities that will be able to visit Brazil without a visa for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Many other nations – including those in the European Union along with Russia, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea – already do not need a visa to visit Brazil.

For those who do make it to Rio, they will be charged R$25 per day for a transport card as Rio 2016 has decided not to offer free transportation.

In sponsorship news, Panasonic Corporation has announced that they have signed an agreement to become an “Official Ceremony Partner” with the Rio 2016 Olympic Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


The ‘pre-legacy’ of the Rio 2016 Games has begun as a giant swimming pool alongside the Olympic Canoe Slalom Course is opened to underprivileged communities. It is estimated that the X-Park will be available to around 1.5 million people until 1 March when the facilities will be updated for the Games.

Elsewhere, construction and building work continues across Rio de Janeiro and all appears to be on track. The Barra Olympic Park is now 97 per cent complete with the International Broadcast Centre, Carioca Arena, Future Arena, Olympic Golf Course, Mountain Bike Track, Olympic BMX Centre, Whitewater Stadium and Olympic Hockey Centre all 100 per cent complete. 

Test Events

Two events took place in December with the boxing taking place in RioCentro and Tennis in the Olympic Park.

Boxers from 18 different countries took part in what was the first international tournament to use the new headgear that complied with the recent changes made by the International Boxing Federation. The event was a success with the athletes approving of the venue and the new protective requirements.

The tennis event, sponsored by Correios was also a hit with approval of the venue coming from the players, International Tennis Federation and Rio 2016. The only issue to come out of the event was the backdrop of the court which was a fluorescent green colour. The Brazilian players, who were the only players involved, found it difficult to track the ball at times so the colour of the panel will be changed before August 2016.

Brazil Team Clip

The Olympic year has certainly begun in full swing for Team Brazil as we can see from the video clip that the Brazilian Olympic Committee has launched with famous Brazilian singers and athletes. The video is looking to engage with fans and encourage them to support the Brazilian athletes during the Games. 

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