The Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will take place Aug. 5-21. The Paralympic Games follow on Sept. 7-18. The first Olympic Games to take place in South America, Rio 2016 will involve more than 10,000 athletes competing in 42 sports over 17 days.
Several new stadiums, athlete housing and outdoor venues are under construction. Infrastructure improvements include new and expanded roadways, a downtown light rail, an expansion of Rio's existing subway system and a 27-mile beachside multiuse path.
Maracanã: The stadium at Maracanã has long been famous among Brazilian soccer fans. It was built to host the 1950 World Cup, when the football-crazed home country made it to the finals, only to lose to neighboring Uruguay. Locals still speak of their heartbreak. Maracanã ranks as Brazil's largest sports arena, is home to several Rio league teams and features a popular Sports Museum.
Come August, Maracanã Stadium will host the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies as well as some soccer matches. Nearby and nearly as famous, the Sambódromo, known for its legendary Carnival parade, will host archery and the marathon. Additional venues in this neighborhood feature track and field and volleyball.
Barra: The Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, typically called simply Barra, will form the centerpiece of the 2016 Olympic competitions. Surrounded by mangrove swamps, natural lagoons, sugar-sand beaches and the mountains of the Tijuca Forest, Barra will be home to the Athletes Village, Barra Olympic Park and Riocentro. Athletes will compete in basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving, gymnastics and a dozen other sports here. Barra will also contain the newly constructed Olympic Golf Course, representing a return of the sport to the Games for the first time in over a century. After the Olympics, the golf course will become public and Barra Arena will be disassembled, its parts used to create four new elementary schools.
Deodoro: Located in western Rio de Janeiro, farthest away from Rio's city center, Deodoro's green spaces make it ideal for events such as pentathlon, equestrian competitions, shooting, mountain biking and whitewater events.
Copacabana: For Cariocas, there is only one place to play beach volleyball and that's on Copacabana Beach. Rio's Olympic organizers agreed. In addition to the beach volleyball arena, other events scheduled for the Copacabana neighborhood include marathon swimming, road cycling and the triathlon.
Just blocks away from Copacabana, canoe and rowing competitions will take place at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Sailing will be staged at nearby Marina da Glória.
Tickets to the games: Olympic ticket sales have already begun. For information and to purchase ticket packages, many of which include hotel rooms and transportation, visit the official ticket reseller CoSport.com.
For general tourism information, visit RCVB.com.br or Rio2016.com/en.
Amy S. Eckert