Rio 2016 Olympics
Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at the Sambadrome
On October 2, 2009, at the 101st session of the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen, Denmark, it was announced that Rio de Janeiro had won its successful campaign to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the first edition of the Games to be held in South America. As part of the bidding process, the city of Rio de Janeiro, along with the Rio Olympic Organizing Committee agreed to renovate the Sambadrome prior to the Olympics. The Sambadrome will host both the Archery events and the Olympic Marathon (Athletics event) of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The Sambódromo will also host the Archery competitions of the 2016 Paralympic Games which will also be held in Rio.
Located close to Maracanã Stadium in an area deemed the Maracanã Zone of the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Sambadrome will host all events of the Rio 2016 Archery competition, including the preliminary qualifying rounds and the Olympic finals. The venue will seat 7,000 ticketed spectators for the Archery events of the Olympics and 4,200 seats for spectators during the Archery competitions of the 2016 Paralympics. The Sambadrome is the perfect venue for archery as it features viewing structures on both sides of a long strip of road, designed to maximize the visibility of all spectators.
The Sambódromo will also host the Marathon of the 2016 Summer Games, during which the competitors will begin the race running down the Rio Carnival Samba runway after which they will continue the course through the Marvelous City of Rio and return to the Sambadrome for the finish of the Marathon. As the runners make their way through the Sambadrome they will be supported by 30,000 seated spectators, providing the perfect conditions for an exciting and appropriate atmosphere for this race of endurance.
The legendary Sambódromo underwent major construction that was completed just in time for Rio Carnival 2012. The city of Rio de Janeiro reached a deal with the Brahma Beer company that owned an old factory directly behind the old sector 2 of the Sambadrome. Due to laws that prohibited the demolition of the factory, the original design of architect Oscar Niemeyer was modified. Originally, Niemeyer envisioned a perfectly symmetrical complex made up of individual concrete structures for seating that would be spread out along the parading avenue, the street Marquês de Sapucaí. The renovations for the Olympics restore the symmetry of Niemeyer’s original design, a symmetry that was throw out of balance by the modifications made for the factory.
The renovation project cost nearly R$30 million, or approximately US19 million. The laws prohibiting the demolition of the Brahma Beer factory were repealed and as part of the agreement reached with the owners of the factory, the Brahama Beer company would pick up the tab for the entire project. In exchange, the beer company had the right to build a permanent office building behind the even side of the Sambadrome with prime visibility of the Sambadrome. The building is primarily for Brahma, but it will also be used as government offices for the City.
The re-building of the Sambadrome was led by the nephew of architect Oscar Niemeyer, John Niemeyer, and took the labor and dedication of nearly 600 workers working around the clock taking turns in shifts to keep the job site operating 24 hours a day. Aside from the construction of the new sectors, the existing sectors were also renovated and painted providing a fresh unity to the samba complex as a whole.
On February 7, 2012, just in time for Rio Carnival 2012, the new Sambadrome was inaugurated at a grand re-opening ceremony with the then 104 year old architect Oscar Niemeyer and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes in attendance. The re-opening of the Sambadrome included a 5km costume race that both began and finished in the Sambodromo, evoking the Carioca Carnival spirit and samba state of mind. In an emotional appearance, Niemeyer received the love and support of Cariocas who welcomed him into his masterpiece as he rode in on a golf cart of sorts alongside Mayor Paes.
New features include more concession stands, medical centers, security headquarters, better access for persons with disabilities, judges booths, washrooms and bathrooms to accommodate the increased number of spectators. The new design, which is actually the old design, improved the aesthetic environment of the stadium. Balconies were added to the Camarotes (luxury boxes) of the even sectors of the Sambodromo. The old sector 2, which previously housed only luxury suites, was demolished and new the sectors 2, 4, 6 and 8 — located across the Passarela Professor Ribeiro Darby from sectors 3, 5, 7, and 9 of the odd numbered side of the venue. As a result of adding new sectors with Grandstands and Frisas, 12,500 new seats were added to the Sambodromo and the venue was enhanced as a whole.
The parade avenue is now longer and the visibility for certain sectors has also been enhanced by the renovations. Now that all sectors are identical and the long structure that was sector two has been removed, more spectators can see more of the parade from beginning to end. Also notable are the improvements to the acoustics of the venue. This impacts the very lifeblood of the stadium of samba, the samba music itself, which saw benefits from the balancing out of the concrete structures. At Carnival 2012, the drumming of the bateria noticeably more bold and pulsating and the voices of the singers improved.
After the Games
Upon completion of the Summer Games, the Sambódromo will continue to be used as the official home of the Rio Carnival parade of Samba Schools. Furthermore, the stadium of samba will host major concerts and sporting events. The renovation of the Sambódromo will benefit the city of Rio beyond the Olympic horizon, serving as a key legacy project for the City Government, as the Sambadrome itself has been restored and upgraded which will also benefit the development and regeneration of the surrounding area. In this manner, the renovations in preparation for the Olympics serve as a catalyst that will propel the longer-term plans to improve this area of the Marvelous city and also significantly benefit the local community in the short-term.