The Olympic Games in Rio is the first to be held in South America. Brazil and Rio de Janiero are home to a diverse population. It is claimed that Rio 2016 will be a catalyst for change in Rio leaving a positive legacy not only in sport, but also for society, the economy, urban infrastructure and the environment.
The population of Brazil is approximately 200 million. In August it is winter time in Rio de Janiero and the climate is mild to warm. The Olympic Village is located in the Barra Zone, in the Southwest of Rio.
Athletes and officials will be accommodated in 31 buildings with 17 floors each divided into seven condominiums. The apartments will have between two and five bedrooms. The Village will open at 8 am on July 24 and close at 6 pm on August 24. The village will have a plaza and a residential zone.
All access points into the Village will require appropriate accreditation and a security check of everyone and their personal items. Hosting an Olympic Games is a mammoth undertaking.
Back in 2009 when Rio was awarded the Games, there was much jubilation and celebration. With just 59 days to go, the mood is somewhat different. To many, it would appear as if this has been the most stressful pre games build up ever. The debate swings between Athens 2004 and Rio 2016.
I don’t believe Athens was subjected to the intense level of public scrutiny as Rio due to the simple fact that Rio 2016 has to face social media scrutiny.
Rio 2016 is facing a myriad of challenges that is most certainly testing the mettle and resilience of the South Americans. Conspiracy theorists suggest that some in the developed world want to see Rio fail and will do everything possible to highlight and profile the issues, problems and concerns.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC ) is challenged in different ways. Every Olympic games presents new and difficult challenges. It is the reality and consequences of how big a global event the Olympic Games have become. It is a fact of life that the Olympic Games are a target for any number of platforms - be they political, social and economic. Certainly we would, in the main, wish for the Olympics to be only about sport but that would be unreal. The Olympics is a magnet for good and bad, the positive and the negative.
The IOC can’t have its cake and eat it. It prides itself on the prestige, profile, stature and attention. So the fact that there is no hiding place to escape the intensity of the scrutiny ought not to be a surprise. The Olympic Games will attract the eyeballs of billions.
Countries such as Trinidad and Tobago (TTO) can either embrace the myriad opportunities or reject those opportunities. National Olympic Committees ( NOCs) can either advocate and convince decision makers and policy makers of the benefits or just let it slide.
T&T should grab the opportunities to market and promote brand Trinidad and Tobago. It is an accepted business strategy that in recession and down market times that investment in marketing and advertising should be increased. The Olympic Games is an opportunity that ought not be allowed to go to waste.
• Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC ). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee. Support #10 Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund. Make your donations at any branch of Scotiabank account number #171188.