By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Saturday, January 21st, new mayor of Rio Marcelo Crivella opened the Via Olímpica, a part of the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, to the public. The space is planned to open every weekend and on public holidays for use by members of the public, between 8AM and 6PM.
The space will be managed by the city’s Ministry of Sport, and will be used as a space for skating rinks, multi-sport courts and other sporting activities. Rio’s municipal government also hopes to open the remainder of the Olympic facilities before the end of Brazil’s summer.
Plans are also underway to turn the park’s Arena Carioca 3 into an Olympic Experimental Gymnasium to help develop and discover children’s potential sporting talents, although currently there is no completion date for the project.
“We need to establish a way to check which children in the public network have aptitude [for sport], so that they can be enrolled here,” said Crivella. “There will be regular teaching and also teachers to develop their skills.”
Further renovations were made to the Via Olímpica before it was opened to the public, with changes made to the gardens, multi-sports courts and synthetic grass fields. Also available for public use are a senior citizen’s outdoor gym, a children’s play area and a skate park.
In addition to using sporting and leisure facilities, members of the public will also be able to look at the ‘Wall of Champions’, a monument that pays tribute to Brazil’s Olympic and Paralympic champions from the 2016 Olympic Games.
The Via Olímpica’s will also be used to host music festival Rock in Rio later this year, taking place September 2017. The festival’s full line-up has not yet been revealed, but includes names such as Bon Jovi and Maroon 5 among this year’s selections.