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With five years to go until the Opening Ceremony, Rio is already enjoying the benefits of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games, as the first new venue – the Athletes’ Park – is completed. On 5 August, the Organising Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games marked the five-years-to-go milestone by highlighting the positive changes that the Games preparations are bringing, as the city gears up for 2016.
During an event at the City Palace, Rio de Janeiro, Rio 2016 president Carlos Arthur Nuzman presented a progress report to assembled dignitaries that detailed the work already achieved, including the start of renovation work at venues such as the Maracana Stadium and the Sambodromo, and the security improvements that are already benefiting more than 300,000 people in 18 communities. Nuzman also described the intangible gains arising from the Games, including an increased debate on sustainability and accessibility, growing sport participation, the heightened tourism status of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, the rediscovery and recognition of the country's culture, and the rising self-esteem of Brazilians.
“Today we already experience the transforming power of the Games,” said Nuzman. “Undoubtedly the choice of Rio to host the 2016 competitions has been turning the eyes of the world towards the city and the country. I would like to reiterate my confidence that we will successfully fulfil our mission and that, in five years' time, we will deliver excellent Games that will be the evidence of sustainable transformation through sport.”
The following day, the Rio 2016 Organising Committee unveiled the Athletes’ Park – the first new venue to be completed for the Games – with Olympic taekwondo medallist Natalia Falavigna joining over 100 young people from community sports projects to experience the park for the first time.
Located just 300 metres from the Olympic Village, the park will provide a leisure and rest area for athletes during the Games. It will also host major events both before and after the Games, while also providing the city with a new public recreation area.
Eduardo Paes, the Rio de Janeiro Mayor, stressed that the unveiling of the park is further evidence that the Olympic Games are already transforming the city.
“The most important part of the Games is what they leave for the city,” said Paes. “And with five years to go to the Opening Ceremony, we are already giving Rio a new recreational area.”