“History will talk about a Rio de Janeiro before and a much better Rio de Janeiro after the Olympic Games,” said International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Indeed, a unique legacy will be left by these Games to current and future generations of Cariocas and Brazilians, which touches multiple facets of people’s daily lives.
The sporting legacy will naturally be an important one from the Olympic Games Rio 2016, with new world-class sports venues to be used by elite and grassroots athletes. For example:
• The Rio 2016 golf venue will become Rio de Janeiro’s first public golf course, creating a long-term legacy for the game in Brazil.
• The canoe slalom venue, as well as retaining its original purpose, has already become a public swimming area for the local population.
• Six venues in the Olympic Park will form the nucleus of Brazil’s first Olympic Training Centre, which will be used by athletes from Brazil and around South America.
Rio de Janeiro has used the Olympic Games as an important catalyst to improve its public transport infrastructure, with the population that will have access to high capacity public transport up from 18 per cent in 2009 to 65 per cent at the end of this year. This is thanks to:
• Four new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines that have created an important transport network across the city.
• The new Metro Line 4, which connects Zona Sul and Barra da Tijuca: two areas that were previously only connected by a congested road network.
• An expanded light rail network in the centre of the city.
• New and refurbished roads.
There will also be an educational legacy from the Olympic Games Rio 2016, with infrastructure and knowledge both gained during Rio’s time as a host city. Cariocas and Brazilians will be able to benefit from:
• The state-of-the-art anti-doping laboratory, which will become a research lab at the Rio de Janeiro Federal University
• Four new schools in Rio that will be built out of materials from the Future Arena (Handball), nomadic architecture that was planned to be used for this purpose from the beginning.
• A fourth Olympic Experimental School to support the Olympic Training Centre, which will be housed in Carioca Arena 3.
• The knowledge gained from the Transforma programme, which reached over six million students in Brazil and beyond
The Games have also brought an economic legacy to the city and country. An independent study by the Fundação Getulio Vargas showed that Rio enjoyed the best and most socially equitable development of any city in Brazil during the period of the Games preparations. Beyond the direct investment through construction and jobs for the Games, the economic legacy will also be felt thanks to:
• The revitalisation of historic Porto Maravilha area, which has opened the city centre once again to the water and improved the area tremendously.
• A tourism industry that will benefit from new hotels and new convention opportunities thanks to the investments made ahead of the Games.
• Training and experience in numerous fields, including one million English lessons given by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee to staff, volunteers and other stakeholders.
Finally, the Olympic Games have also delivered an important legacy of an increase in national unity and pride from the successful hosting of marvellous Games.
There is no doubt that the legacy of Rio 2016 will live on for a long time to come.
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