By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Wednesday, May 20th, officials unveiled the Olympic rings structure in Madureira Park located in the Zona Norte (North Zone) neighborhood of Madureira in Rio de Janeiro. The park will be one of three future sites where the public will be able to view, on a large screen, live streams of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
“The Olympic Games are for all Cariocas [Rio residents],” Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, who was in attendance during the unveiling ceremony, said. “It is important that all of them feel that they are a fundamental part of this movement which is transforming Rio de Janeiro. Madureira is the heart of Rio’s suburbs, where our identity was forged. It is in the poorest regions of the city that the Games will have the most impact.”
Weighing almost four tons, stretching 25m across, and standing 12m high, the iconic five-ring structure was donated to the city by the United Kingdom following its 2012 Olympic Games held in London. During the Games, the structure adorned the Tyne Bridge in the city of Newcastle, becoming a tourist attraction.
The rings arrived in Rio de Janeiro after a twenty-day voyage across the ocean during January and February earlier this year. They remained covered in Madureira Park (Parque de Madureira) until Wednesday’s official unveiling.
Featuring a fireworks display and a crowd of celebratory spectators, the unveiling ceremony was also attended, in addition to Paes, by the President of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission for the 2016 Games, Nawal el Moutawakel; UK Consul General, Jonathan Dunn; and the President of the Organizing Committee of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Carlos Arthur Nuzman.
“The rings are the symbol of the Olympic movement, and they are one of the most famous images in the world,” said Nuzman. “They will help to get Rio de Janeiro in the mood for the memorable Games that will take place here in 2016.”
Although it is debated, the five interlocking rings of blue, yellow, black, green, and red, are often said to stand for the continents or five different major areas of the world.
In addition to Madureira Park, live public, big screen viewings of the 2016 Games are scheduled to take place in the city’s Port Zone and at the Sports Center Miécimo da Silva (Centro Esportivo Miécimo da Silva), located in the neighborhood of Campo Grande in the city’s West Zone.
Event competitions during the Games are scheduled to take place in four main areas of the city: Copacabana Beach, the Maracaña stadium, the Deodoro complex and Barra da Tijuca, home to the future Olympic Village.
The Games will open on August 5, 2016 and run through August 21st.