Rio de Janeiro has celebrated 1,000 days to go until it hosts the 2016 Olympic Games, with a series of events taking place across Brazil.
In the northern Brazilian city of Belém, 1,000 young people joined together inside Mangueirão Stadium – a Rio 2016 pre-Games training venue – to form the number 1,000. The city is currently hosting the biggest ever edition of the Brazilian School Youth Games, with almost 4,000 athletes – aged between 15 and 17 years old –competing in 13 sports disciplines.
“An event like this is an excellent start for future high level athletes; it can multiply the contact with Olympic values and sports,” said Agberto Guimarães, Rio 2016 Executive Director of Sport & Paralympic Integration. “Each of these 4,000 athletes will spread this engagement through their schoolmates, teachers, friends and family. Celebrating the 1,000 days to go milestone during the competition in Belém means touching the whole country with the spirit and magic of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
IOC President Thomas Bach commented, “One thousand days remain until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games begin and young athletes across Brazil and around the world are dreaming about being part of this great celebration of sport. The Rio Games have inspired those young sports people, as well as many others, who see and understand the benefits that these Games will bring the citizens of the host city and Brazil long after the 17 days of competition have ended.”
He continued, “These benefits include improvements in the city in terms of transport, infrastructure and social housing, and a considerable sporting legacy for Brazil. The 2016 organisers have already accomplished a lot, with more to come, and we look forward to seeing Rio’s project develop, as venues are delivered, test events begin, and the excitement grows across the country, helping to spread the Olympic values even further.”
In Rio, the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Government marked the 1,000-day countdown by opening an observation tower within the Olympic Park.
The nine-metre viewing platform, which was constructed from an old grandstand that once stood on the Jacarepaguá Racetrack, allows visitors to observe the progress that is being made during the construction of some of main Olympic venues that will be used during the 2016 Games.
The first visitors included Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, the President of the Municipal Olympic Company (EOM), Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, and Rio 2016 president Carlos Arthur Nuzman, who were able to view the work that has already taken place on the construction of the Tennis Centre, International Broadcast Centre (IBC), the Main Press Centre (MPC) and the three sports halls that, after the Games, will form part of the Olympic Training Centre (OTC).
In the first half of 2014, construction will also start on the remaining three sport venues in the Olympic Park – the Velodrome, the Aquatic Centre and the Handball Arena .
The Municipal Olympic Company, which is responsible for coordinating the execution of municipal projects and activities related to the 2016 Games, also marked the 1,000-day milestone by unveiling the design of the Deodoro Sports Complex, which will host fencing, modern pentathlon, equestrian, shooting, BMX, mountain bike and canoe slalom events during Rio 2016.
Elsewhere in Rio, Nuzman and Rio governor Sergio Cabral also marked 1,000 days to go until the Games by helping to start the construction of a new tunnel that will form part of the 23-km Transolimpica expressway, which will link the city with several competition venues.