By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Planning for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has progressed smoothly until recently, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) encountered their first hiccup. Choosing the building firm responsible for constructing the new Radical Park – to be built in Deodoro – has been delayed until February 2013.
The location is scheduled to host seven 2016 Olympic events in three and a half years’ time and is turning into a source of worry. Located in the Zona Oeste (West Zone) of the city, the Deodoro site is the furthest behind of the four main Olympic centers; Barra, Maracanã, Copacabana and Deodoro.
The Rio 2016 Committee admitted on December 14th, that they were behind schedule on opting for a company that would be responsible for the Deodoro project while at the same time paradoxically stressing the importance of not falling behind on building work at the four principal Olympic sites.
The idea is to build on open space as well as modernism and refurbish existing sporting structures on the area with costs estimated at just under R$40 million.
However it is the first real hitch to hit Olympic planning, as opposed to the 2014 World Cup preparations, which have encountered a plethora of problems over the past couple of years. Even with this setback to the Deodoro site the problem can be rectified if action is taken early in 2013, as is looking likely.
Deodoro is due to be the site for fencing, dressage competitive (equestrian horse-riding), shooting, canoeing, pentathlon, mountain bike racing and BMX racing. The company that earns the contract for the building works will be responsible for designing and delivering Radical Park, the proposed name for the sports center.
Radical Park will be the stage for canoeing, mountain bike and BMX racing. The company will also need to modernize the arena that will host fencing, raising the capacity in the space to 5,000, with 3,000 fixed seats and 2,000 temporary.
As well as these two important roles, the winning bidder will also need to oversee relatively minor reformation work at the National Shooting Center, the Hockey Center, the General Eloy Mendes National Equestrian Center and the dressage course which at present does not meet Olympic standards.
Improvements to infrastructure are also necessary, access to and from the stadiums, lighting, landscaping around the exterior and an improved drainage system all need work prior to opening. With so much still to be done, work remains in the planning stages and any further hindrances past February could be problematic.
The announcement of the winning bid for the building contract will be announced at 10AM on February 4th, 2013, at the Palácio Guanabara, the seat of the Rio de Janeiro state government. The winner will then have eleven months – until January 2014 – to finalize and deliver all aspects of the project to the IOC for an inspection.
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.