By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Olympic Games are still 577 days away, but the selection process for its approximately 70,000 volunteers is already underway. Registrations for volunteering at the biggest sporting event of the world closed on December 15, 2014 and the organization received a total of 242,757 applications.

More than 240,000 people have applied to be a volunteer at Rio 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
More than 240,000 people have applied to be a volunteer at Rio 2016, photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Rio 2016.

These applicants are currently asked to take online courses to get to know the organization and the Games a little bit better. After that interviews will be conducted and the Rio 2016 organization estimates that by November 2015 the successful candidates will already be notified.

Interest in volunteering came from all over the world, as applications from 192 countries were received. Most, around sixty percent, came from host-country Brazil, whereas the United States handed in 11,069 applications and former host nations Russia sent in 10,840, while 8,283 came from China and 7,648 from Great Britain.

“After Brazil, the countries with the highest numbers of applicants were some of those who have already hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Flavia Fontes, manager of the Rio 2016 volunteer program said in a statement. “These American, Russian, Chinese and British people want to experience this special moment again. And I’m sure that this coming together of people from different backgrounds will make the Rio 2016 Games unforgettable.”

“We were very happy with the results. The number of applicants demonstrated the desire of people to participate in the Games and showed that the volunteer spirit is alive in Brazil. The quantity of different nationalities, age groups and backgrounds is making the diversity we are seeking a reality.”

For those who missed the deadline, the Olympic organization is currently keeping a waiting list. Candidates must be eighteen years old by February 2016 and available to work during the Games, which take place from August 5 to August 21, 2016 and September 7 to September 18, 2016. Registrations for the waiting list can be made here.

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