By Kendall Clark, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Deodoro Sports Complex, which will host competitions for eleven Olympic and four Paralympic events during the 2016 Games, began construction and renovation projects early last month with hopes of finishing ahead of the 2016 deadline. The second largest of the four Olympic Zones, Deodoro is scheduled to host equestrian, shooting and mountain biking competitions among others.
Of the nine projected Deodoro facilities, located in the Zona Oeste (West Zone), three previously installed venues were used in the 2007 Pan American games and 2011 Military Games. Organizers report that bout sixty percent of the permanent facilities were already constructed for these previous events.
The complex will continue to gain new permanent and temporary facilities, as well as undergo further renovations to meet the specific requirements of the International Olympic Committee [IOC]. The main work to the existing complex will be the permanent additions of the Deodoro Arena, Olympic BMX Arena and the Olympic Canoe Slalom, which are all estimated to be complete either the fourth trimester of 2015 or the first trimester of 2016.
Alongside the long-term additions, the temporary construction of the Olympic Mountain Bike Park and Modern Pentathlon Arena are underway and are expected to be finished around the same time. Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio, had come under scrutiny in recent months due to the delayed start of the Deodoro Complex, and he acknowledged the sluggish start but emphasized the Prefeitura’s (City Hall) commitment to meet the deadline.
“Today is a very special day in that we are starting the last remaining work that needs to be done for the Olympic Games. Despite the initial delay, we have managed this past week to catch up with the deadline, and today I can affirm that the construction of all of the Deodoro’s sporting facilities has returned to the timescale agreed with the International Olympic Committee,” stated Mayor Eduardo Paes on July 3rd.
While more than half of the Complex is already erected, the pace of work must accelerate in order to finish on time. According to the president of RioUrbe, Armando Queiroga, approximately one thousand workers will work from Monday to Saturday on the grounds, in order to make the most of the good weather before the impending rainy season.
Construction is predicted to be relatively straightforward, allowing rapid completion, says the Municipal Olympic Company [EOM]. An example is the BMX track, which consists largely of a series of raised earthworks.
The brunt of the planning efforts falls on the shoulders of the federal, state and municipal governments. Rio’s City Hall will execute a total of fourteen projects, costing approximately R$14.3 billion. About 64 percent (R$9.2 billion) is being funded through partnerships with the private sector. The municipal and federal governments are splitting the cost of the remanding R$3.9 billion.
The City Hall states that it has the intention to utilize alternative methods to reduce the use of public resources and to attract private investment and cut costs wherever possible. For example, the Deodoro will have 5,000 seats during the Games, of which only 2,000 will be permanent, resulting in lower maintenance costs.
The 2016 Summer Olympics was awarded to Rio de Janeiro on October 2, 2009 and are scheduled to be held from August 5 to 21, 2016. It will mark the first time a South American city hosts the event, and also the first time a Lusophone (Portuguese-language) country hosts the event.