By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Monday, March 11th, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Rio 2016 Games, Nawal El Moutawakel, visited the new Rio 2016 headquarters accompanied by the President of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Carlos Arthur Nuzman.
In Rio for the Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony, a prize considered the “Oscar of Sports”, El Moutawakel visited the venue for the Olympics and greeted the Committee’s employees.
The Organizing Committee’s new home is described as a modern, sustainable, accessible structure, located in Rio’s Cidade Nova neighborhood of Zona Norte (North Zone).
Mr. Nuzman explains that the new headquarters are the first venue to be delivered by the Organizing Committee. “Seeing the first Games venue ready reinforces our ability to achieve. Furthermore, having all teams gathered in a single building, together with the Municipal Olympic Company, makes our task easier and helps to integrate the teams.”
He also adds that the project has sustainability as its basic premise, “Modernity and sustainability mark the new headquarters. The modular construction is an innovation that better suits our project. We will use the building according to the Committee’s growth demands and, in the end, it will be possible to dismantle the structure, to reuse it elsewhere.”
With so much scrutiny currently surrounding the Cidade Maravilhosa‘s tardy preparations for the 2014 World Cup, good news are more than welcome regarding the city’s Olympic efforts.
Prior to the visit of the headquarters, at the end of February, the IOC Coordination Commission had also made their fourth inspection of Rio before the start of the Games.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, Minister for Sport Aldo Rebelo, city governor Sergio Cabral and mayor Eduardo Paes all met the IOC and were present at meetings held with the LOC as well.
With over three years to go until the mega event much work still needs to be carried out at the Barra da Tijuca and Deodoro sites, but the IOC declared themselves satisfied with the progress being made. “We’ve seen solid progress. Building work is ongoing and the LOC continues to strengthen.”
“However, many projects will have to be delivered simultaneously. We remain confident but we must all stay vigilant and continue to work hard, so that timelines are respected,” said Mr. El Moutawakel.
2013 will prove to be a pivotal year for the city’s Olympic dream as work will begin on a number of sporting arenas as tests also need to be carried out to ensure athlete and fan safety. Accommodation was also discussed when the IOC were in town, and a spurt of hotel building is expected to take place in the western neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca, with several projects to get underway this year.
With so much of the Games concentrated in Barra – site of the Olympic Village – the ability to hold tens of thousands of fans is critical. While Zona Sul (South Zone) remains relatively close, as well as hosting some events, Barra will be the main hub of the action and more hospitality space is desperately needed.