My view on Rio 2016; The highs and lows of the first Olympics in South America

Yesterday’s photo gallery about Barra Olympic Park was the last in the series. Today as conclusion my view on the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.


Venues ++

Couldn’t be better. Great combination of ‘old’ iconic venues (Maracanã, Sambódromo) with new architectural highlights (Tennis Centre, Future Arena, Carioca Arena, Youth Arena) and temporary venues on spectacular locations (Lagoa Stadium, Beach Volleyball Stadium). Rio had it all!


Transportation ++

Worked flawlessly. The metro, buses and trains brought me in time where I needed to be. Traveling from Copacabana to Barra was easy by the new metro line (ready just in time) and BRT. I can now understand why the new metro line is an unmissable addition to the public transportation network. Another plus; the system was barely overcrowded. Travel distances were sometimes long (Copacabana > Deodoro X-Park two hours one way) as well as the walking distances in Deodoro.


Security ++

Rio took this matter very seriously, as evidenced by the massive number of police and military personnel. And it worked. I have never felt unsafe during my stay. (but what is the situation nowadays?)


Look of the Games +

I liked the logo, font and main graphic of the look. But the implementation was not always successful: Sometimes not consistent or even absent. (probably because of the budget cuts)


Cariocas / Home crowd +

Friendly and very helpful, even if they didn’t spoke English. But not always the best audience. (Booing? At the Olympics…?) The atmosphere in the venues was bad when no home athletes were in action.


Barra Olympic Park –  

It wasn’t exactly a park was it? Pavement everywhere. And this in a country with an enormous wealth of vegetation. Because of this, there were few places where you could sit in the shade. In short, it was not a place to spend an afternoon. The architecture of the venues saved the day. (Deodoro Olympic Park was much better!)


Photo: Martijn Giebels / Architecture of the Games
Photo: Martijn Giebels / Architecture of the Games

Empty seats – –  

Something went (very) wrong here! I took this photo during Angelique Kerber’s, currently WTA World No.1, second round tennis match at Centre Court. Were those tickets unsold? Or didn’t people show up? I was even able to buy tickets for the men’s 100m final (athletics) two days prior to the event….


Photo: Martijn Giebels / Architecture of the Games
Photo: Martijn Giebels / Architecture of the Games

Food – –  

This was really, really bad. Lack of choice, low quality and overpriced. Also an unnecessarily complicated ordering system and those (last-minute added) food trucks didn’t make a difference. Shame on you Rio!


Overall +

Not the best Games ever, but way better than expected two years ago when the preparations were not going well. I sometimes got the feeling that Rio was not ready yet and needed a few more weeks. Eventually, I had a great time and consider these Games as a success. Let’s hope that this also applies to its legacy.



Did you visit Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic or Paralympic Games? Please, leave your thoughts or feedback in the comments.