The most iconic symbol of the Olympic Games is decorating the city for the Rio 2016 Games. City Hall has installed giant Olympic Rings in Madureira Park, ahead of the largest sporting event in the world.
Mayor Eduardo Paes joined the ceremony, together with the president of the Coordination Commission for the Rio 2016 Games from the International Olympic Committee, Nawal el Moutawakel, and the president of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman.
The choice of Madureira Park as the “home” of the Olympic Rings complies with the Municipality’s concept of integrating the whole city with the Games.
“The Olympic Games are for the people of Rio de Janeiro and it is important that residents feel they are a fundamental part of this movement which is transforming the city. Madureira is in the heart of the suburbs, where our identity was created, and is in one of the poorest regions of the city where the Games have had a great affect”, Mayor Eduardo Paes says.
Since it was inaugurated, in 2012, the park has attracted thousands of people and has become a new leisure and sports option in that region of the city. The Park will be home to one of the three Live Sites, organized by City Hall, free of charge for the public, to follow the Olympic competitions. The other ones will be at Porto Maravilha and the Miécimo da Silva Sports Centre, in Campo Grande.
The Olympic Rings were installed near the Park’s waterfall. The structure is particularly impressive because of its size. It was built in aluminum, weighs 4 tons, and is 25 meters long and 12 meters high, the equivalent of a 4-storey building.
The symbol, which represents the union of the five continents, was donated by the United Kingdom. The rings decorated the Tyne Bridge, in Newcastle, one of the football host-cities for the 2012 London Olympic Games. It is the first time such a donation has taken place.
In order to bring them to Rio, the City Government, through the Municipal Olympic Company, enabled their transport by ship, with the support of the Brazilian Navy. The trip took 20 days, between January and February this year. After arriving in Brazil, the rings underwent some small repairs before they were installed in Madureira Park.
The president of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, celebrated the rings’ arrival to the city, which will welcome around 15 thousand athletes from more than 200 countries during the Olympic Games.
“The Rings are the largest representation of the Olympic Movement and are amongst the most recognizable symbols of the world, being immediately associated with the Games. It is a great opportunity and push for Rio de Janeiro to get into the mood of the memorable 2016 Games”.
Alex Ellis, British Ambassador to Brazil, affirms that the gift will seal a growing partnership between the two countries in recent years. “We’ve been flirting with the Olympic Games in Rio for a long time and now we are giving to the city, and to Brazil, our commitment rings”, jokes the diplomat. “We are confident of the success of the Rio 2016 Games and want to be part of its story”, he concludes.
The Newcastle City Council leader, Nick Forbes, added: “Newcastle is extremely proud to be able to donate our Olympic rings to our friends in Rio. It is a gesture of friendship across the world, and connects people who may never meet but who now will share a common bond. Rio and Newcastle are both big sporting cities, and the Olympic Games embodies the power that sport has to bring people together.”