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By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The London 2012 Olympics may still be underway, but officials in Rio – where the next Games are to be held in 2016 – have announced that the Olympic Park, which will be located in Barra da Tijuca in Rio’s Zona Oeste (West Zone), will be transformed into an Olympic Training Center after the 2016 Games have finished, in order to leave a “legacy” for the city and its people.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Municipal Olympic Company President Maria Silvia Bastos, image recreation.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Municipal Olympic Company President Maria Silvia Bastos said the Olympic Training Center would leave a “legacy” for Rio and its people, image recreation.

Speaking exactly four years before the Games are due to start, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Municipal Olympic Company President Maria Silvia Bastos announced that the venue would become the first Olympic Training Center in Brazil and Latin America:

“It will hold competitions and training sessions for all athletes. It will be a legacy left for our city. We must also remember that it will be an open place for people to make use of,” the Mayor said.

Maria Silva Bastos underlined that the Olympic venues would be built to a high standard with “excellent infrastructure” and that almost all facilities for the Games were already in place, thanks to Rio’s hosting of the 2007 Pan American Games.

The Mayor pointed out other improvements the city is benefiting from thanks to its hosting of the Games, including the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit system), the revitalization of the harbor area, and the construction of the Vila Carioca.

So far, Brazil’s performance at London 2012 has failed to impress, with Brazil languishing in 21st place with six medals and just one gold – won in the women’s judo by Sarah Menezes. However the Men’s football (soccer) team, the Seleção, will be playing today (Saturday, August 4th) against Honduras in the knock-out round.

Next Sunday, August 12th, Mayor Paes will take part in the official Olympic Flag handover ceremony in London.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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