The 2016 Summer Olympics has a lot of firsts in Olympic history. It’s the first time that the games have ever been held in South America, it’s the first time that the games have been held in a Portuguese-speaking country, it’s also the first time since Sydney in 2000 that the games will be hosted in the non-capital city of a country.
The process for choosing a host city began way back in 2007, with the final voting taking place in 2009. The other cities that were official candidates for the 2016 games were Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid. Prague, Doha (capital of Qatar), and Baku (capital of Azerbaijan) did not make it into the Candidate phase.
Doha intended to move the games into October because of the hot weather in the summer months, which has been done a couple of times before. However, the city ultimately was denied candidacy.
The US bid city of Chicago was given candidacy but was shot down after the first round of voting. Because the voting strategies of IOC members are kept private, people can only assume at why they chose to disqualify Chicago. Some theories refer to the fact that IOC members don’t approve of the large share of profits the US Olympic Committee takes. It has also been suggested that passport and visa regulations in the US make it difficult for international athletes to attend. Others simply blame it on anti-American sentiments.
A Brazilian design agency created the 2016 logo for the games, which depicts three figures holding hands and dancing in a circle. The figures are each coloured yellow, green, and blue like the Brazilian national flag and depicts the same shape as the famous Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro. The winning design was chosen out of 139 competing agencies for best capturing the vision for the 2016 games.
The games will be held at multiple venues throughout Rio from August 5, 2016 to August 21, 2016. The venues are divided into four separate areas of Rio de Janeiro: Copacabana Beach, Barra de Tijuca, Deodoro, and Maracana.
The world-famous Copacabana Beach area will host many water sports like marathon swimming and open water swimming. It’s also the ideal area to host beach volleyball. Barra is known for its Americanized lifestyle and will be home to the Olympic Village that will house the athletes in addition to hosting events. Deodoro is actually a military facility but has been used in the past for sports events. For the 2016 Games, it will be used for equestrian competitions in addition to fencing and shooting.
There were two open spots for sports to be included in the Summer 2016 games. Seven sports applied for the two spots and presented in front of the IOC Executive Board for consideration: baseball, karate, squash, softball, rugby, golf, and rugby. The IOC voted and rugby won by a majority. Golf won the remaining slot. Extreme sports like mountain biking, white water canoeing, and BMX were also included.