Countdown to the Olympics what you must know

first_imgBarra Olympic Park – June 2016. Image credit: Andre Motta/ are now less than 50 days away from the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Brazil is ready to welcome athletes and fans from 206 countries and show them why the first Olympic Games in South America will be one to remember.“The Olympic Games are about a lot more than sport. They go beyond competition,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, in Rio last week.For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, there will be a team of refugee athletes. Five runners from South Sudan, two swimmers from Syria, two judokas from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a marathon runner from Ethiopia will march under the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony on 5 August at the Maracanã Stadium.The 10 athletes, who include two Congolese judokas who are based in Brazil, will stay at the Olympic Village, where they will receive an official welcome, just like any other national team. The IOC will provide a full support group to provide all their logistical, technical and coaching needs.This week Brazil has also revealed the design of the Olympic medals and official slogan for Olympic and Paralympic Games. The medals will have a design that celebrates the relationship between the strengths of Olympic heroes and the forces of nature and they were made in the most sustainable manner.The top three winners of the competitions during the 2016 Rio Games will be awarded with medals made from gold that has been extracted without the use of mercury and which was produced according to strict sustainability criteria, from the initial mining all the way through to the design of the end product.The silver and bronze medals have been produced using 30 per cent recycled materials. Half of the plastic in the ribbons comes from recycled plastic bottles. The rounded cases that hold the medals were made from freijó wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).Olympic medals of the Rio 2016 Games. Image credit: Rio 2016The official slogan for the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America will be: “A New World”. Along with the Olympic torch, the medals and the mascots, the slogan plays a major part in creating the unique identity of each Olympic Games.Leonardo Picciani, minister of sports, recently announced that 70% of tickets for the Olympic Games and 55% of tickets for the Paralympics Games have been sold. Organizers expect to have 100% tickets sold by the beginning of the games.The Brazilian Tourism Board (Embratur) has recently launched a campaign to encourage citizens of Australia, Canada, United States and Japanese to take advantage of the visa waiver and visit Brazil during the Olympics. The initiative, with the slogan “Brazil is open to you!”, is estimated to reach over 70 million people.“We believe the current valuation of the dollar and increased foreign purchasing power in Brazil should attract this audience, ” says José Antonio Parente, deputy president of Embratur. In this final stretch, Parente stresses that the campaign is aimed to invite tourists from these four priorities countries to come see the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and enjoy the opportunity to experience other Brazilian cities.With this campaign by Embratur and other actions carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the visa exemption for markets with strong Olympic tradition (Japan, USA, Canada and Australia) can generate an increase of 20% in the number of arrivals of international visitors to Brazil.This represents an increase of 75,000 international tourists, which should inject USD$80 million in the Brazilian economy. The total number of international tourists expected during the Games is between 300,000 and 500,000 people, with a projection of USD$1.7 billion result for Brazil’s economy, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).Brazil’s Ministry of Health on recent reports about ZikaBrazil’s Ministry of Health would like to refute any information that the Zika virus may be a reason to prevent the realization of the 2016 Rio Olympics. We are sure that Brazil will be safe for athletes, participants and spectators. The risk of disease transmission during the Olympic and Paralympic Games are minimal: a study from the University of Cambridge estimates less than one case among 500,000 international visitors.On June 14th, a Committee of Experts from the World Health Organization reinforced the low risk of the spread of Zika virus during the Olympics. The virus is currently present in 60 countries and Brazil represents 15% of the total population exposed to the disease. WHO issued a guidance that there should be no general restrictions on travel and trade with countries currently experiencing outbreak of Zika virus.We would also like to remind all that the period during the Olympic Games will actually be winter in Brazil, when historically the transmission of diseases hosted by Aedes aegypti, as is the case of Zika, reach their lowest level. Between February and May this year, cases have fallen 87%. There is therefore no evidence or reason to cancel travel or participation in the competitions. Brazil maintains all the attention and necessary measures to ensure the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be a great success. Rio Olympics 2016Source = Brazil Tourismlast_img

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