International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach opened the Beyond the Games Global Summit last night in Rio de Janeiro by underlining the important role that the Olympic Games have played as a catalyst for the development of the city and the role of sport in improving people’s lives.
At this summit for business and government leaders from around South America and further afield, the audience also heard from Luis Alberto Moreno, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes.
Addressing the delegates at a reception, President Bach said, “History will talk about a Rio de Janeiro before the Olympic Games and a better Rio de Janeiro after the Olympic Games. Rio de Janeiro shows us the transformative power of Olympic Games for a city. Just a few days ago, a study from a respected research foundation showed that, since Rio de Janeiro was chosen as host city, the per capita income in the city has grown by over 30 per cent. This study also shows that it is the poorest segment of the population that has benefited most from this growth.”
He continued, “As I am sure you will hear from Mayor Eduardo Paes himself, he was always determined to make the Olympic Games serve the city and people of Rio de Janeiro. Thanks to his vision and determination, the Olympic Games are a catalyst for urban development that has spurred investment in Rio de Janeiro which would otherwise not have happened. As Mayor Paes has said: ‘This is the first big investment in our city for decades. It is only possible because of the Olympic Games which make it happen within seven years.’”
IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno also spoke about the benefit that these Games have brought to the 2016 host city when he said, “Take the massive public investment in transportation: almost 200 kilometres of subway, light rail and Bus Rapid Transit lanes have been built in Rio de Janeiro alone. Thanks to those improvements, a 90-minute bus commute through Rio has been shortened to a 20-minute trip. This is a victory Rio’s commuters will continue to enjoy long after the Games have ended. Or consider the massive investments in telecommunications. These will be the most hyper-connected Games in history, linking all venues in real time. This infrastructure will outlive the Olympics, serving Rio businesses, schools, households and government agencies.”
The IDB is also playing its part in ensuring that sport is able to improve people’s lives through supporting initiatives like the Transforma programme. Rio 2016’s education programme has already reached more than 5,000 public schools in Brazil. The programme offers free online training for physical education teachers in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and has three specific objectives: to disseminate the Olympic values; to promote the practice of new sports and a healthier life; and to get in touch with the Games.
The legacy of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 will also go beyond these important points, with social and environmental legacies that will include a redeveloped port area in downtown Rio de Janeiro, a public leisure area in Deodoro, four new schools built from the Future Arena that will host handball during the Games, a new “Olympic” school in the Barra Olympic Park, improved city waste management, 70 new hotels, and BRL 5 billion invested in the local tourism industry.
Olympic Agenda 2020, which is the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, will reinforce this concept in future editions of the Games. Its 40 recommendations include, among other points, changes to the candidature procedure, with a new philosophy to invite potential candidate cities to present a project that fits their sporting, economic, social and environmental long-term planning needs. This should help to ensure that strong legacies continue to be a part of the Olympic Games for the editions to come.