Jennifer Ellison Brown | ‘Ola Rio’ - Tips for Rio Olympics
Although the lead-up to the Rio Olympic Games has been marked by controversies - including the corruption and instability of the country's federal government, crime and violence, as well as prominent health and safety concerns surrounding the Zika virus and significant pollution in the Guanabara Bay, the world is in an ecstatic mood and ready to partake in the fun and excitement.
Rio de Janeiro is the city it is today because of its historical past. Portuguese rulers were the first ones to rule Rio as they landed on the soil of Guanabara Bay on January 1, 1502. The bay forms the opening of a river, hence the name 'Rio de Janeiro', which means 'River of January'.
Brazil achieved independence in 1889 and Rio was named the capital, and the city expanded politically, culturally, economically and architecturally.
Football is the most popular sport in Brazil, while there are other popular ones, such as basketball, beach football, beach volleyball, beach American football, foot volley, surfing, kite surfing, hand gliding, motor racing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, sailing and competitive rowing.
On October 2, 2009, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) selected Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Bids for the 1936 Olympics were lost to Berlin, and in 2004 and 2012, Rio failed to become a candidate. Those games were awarded to Athens and London, respectively.
The 2016 Summer Olympics Games of the XXXI Olympiad, commonly known as Rio 2016, is due to take place from
August 5-21. A record number of countries are participating in a record number of sports. More than 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees are scheduled to take part. The games will feature 28 Olympic sports and the events will take place at 33 venues in the host city and at five venues in the cities of Sao Paulo (Brazil's largest city), Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasilia (Brazil's capital) and Manaus.
FIRST FOR SOUTH AMERICA
Rio will become the first Brazilian and South American city to host the games. Rio de Janeiro will also be the first city in the southern hemisphere, outside of Australia, to host the games.
These will be the first Summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Thomas Bach.
Now, if you are planning to leave your flat screen in your living room, the big screens in the town centres or the sports bars and decide to take a well-earned vacation to Rio, here are a few tips:
Climate: Most of the year it is warm and humid. Temperatures mostly hover around 30 degrees Celsius. The evenings are much cooler.
Safety: The crime rate is quite high due to poverty in the surrounding areas in the city. Therefore, avoid travelling alone and, if possible, take local friends along with you while on the streets, especially at nights. Avoid exposure of valuable items; at nights it is safer to call a taxi than to use subways and public transportation. Do not leave luggage unattended in crowded areas or tourist areas. It is better to take money from ATM machines that are placed inside buildings, banks, or shopping centres. It is safer to visit city centres and famous tourist attractions in the daytime. Dangerous areas should be avoided at nights, and please try to dress like a local Brazilian.