POSTED: January 6th 2015

Olympics: Rio 2016 marks a number of important milestones in 2014 and readies for a busy 2015

Rio 2016 counts less than 600 days to the opening of the Summer Games / Bigstock
Rio 2016 counts less than 600 days to the opening of the Summer Games / Bigstock

MARISSA FLANDERS / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The Rio Organizing Committee for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games has a lot to look back on in the year 2014. With only two years till they host the 2016 Games, they have achieved many milestones. looks back at those milestones, as we look forward to the new things to come in 2015.

More than 240,000 volunteers registered from over 192 countries

The Rio 2016 Games had around 70,000 positions available to interested volunteers. Once the registration period ended there were over 240,000 applicants from over 192 countries. Around 60% of applicants were Brazilians, with other applicants mainly coming from the USA, China, Russia, and Great Britian. Numerous applicants are already taking part in the first phase process, which includes language assessment and online exercises.

Manager of the Rio 2016 Volunteer Program, Flavia Fontes commented, “We were very happy with the results. The number of applicants demonstrated the desire of people to participate in the Games and showed that the volunteer spirit is alive in Brazil. The quantity of different nationalities, age groups and backgrounds are making the diversity we are seeking a reality. The Games are for everyone and the volunteer program already shows this.”

First Sailing Test Event a Success

During the month of August, the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta was held and became the first test event for the Rio 2016 Games. Around 326 athletes, which included 32 Olympic medalists from 35 countries, tested the Guanabara Bay area during the event. It turned out to be the largest regatta ever held in the country.

Olympic medalist Jonathan Lambert stated, “It was a very nice event. We've had some exciting races, 'inside' with the amazing Pão de Açúcar mountain, and 'outside' with a lot of changes in the wind, which makes the race very challenging but fun. I am definitely looking forward to an exciting Games here in Rio."

Rodrigo Garcia, the Sports Director of the Rio 2016 Committee, "The first test event comes to a close with a sense of mission accomplished. This has been a wonderful experience and a successful event, but most importantly, we have learned a lot."

19 New Partners

Thanks to the 2014 Soccer World Cup, Rio 2016 has enjoyed the boosted sponsorship. 2.6 billion reals ($1 billion) has already been reached in sponsorship sales. Rio 2016 had expected to surpass the London 2012's total with almost two years to go. They ended up landing six major sponsors that included Bradesco Seguros, Banco Bradesco, Embratel, Claro, Nissan, and Correios (a government ran postal service).

"We matched the numbers of London already," said Renato Ciuchini, Chief Commercial Officer.

100% Privately Funded

At the beginning, Rio 2016 projected to have 31% founding by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) contribution, 45% by private sources like ticket sales, marketing, and licensing, and 24% by the three levels of government. To date revenues are 51% local sponsors, 13% ticket sales, 9% international sponsors, 21% IOC contribution, and 6% licensing and other revenues.

Numerous National Olympic Committee (NOC) and National Paralympic Committee (NPC) Open Days

With 31 delegates from 51 countries, Rio 2016 ended up hosting the largest open day for NOCs. Everyone was pleased with the progress being made and was reassured by their visit.

“The meetings and visits have been very important and have given us confidence." commented Su Donghao of the Chinese Olympic Committee. He added, “Before we arrived, we heard a lot of criticism about the lateness of the works, but now we feel more relaxed. The visit to Barra (where the Olympic Park will be) was interesting. The project is very well planned, the competition sites are next to the Olympic Village.”

There was even an open day just for the NPCs, where over 40 delegates from 17 countries came.

“There are obviously differences between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, for example the venues are not always the same, so it’s important to have different open days, so you can focus specifically on the Paralympic Games," expressed Angelica Mastrodomenico, Head of Games Operations at the Italian Paralympic Committee.

Deodoro Olympic Park Breaks Ground

July 3, 2014 marked the ground breaking for the construction of the Deodoro Olympic Park, which will be the second largest cluster of the Rio 2016 Games venues. It will hold four Paralympic and 11 Olympic Sports. As of today, around 60% of the permanent venues have already been built.

Carlos Nuzman, the Rio 2016 President, stated, “We are very proud to see work start on Deodoro Olympic Park. It underlines the important legacy that the Pan-American Games left for Rio, and the new confidence in the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Today, Brazil has a highly positive image due to the FIFA World Cup and I’m certain that our Games will be no different.”

**MARISSA FLANDERS is a graduate of Saint Leo University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Business. She has over four years of writing experience and has a real passion for ice hockey following the Pittsburgh Penguins on her blog:

Keywords · Rio 2016 · IOC · Olympic · Paralympic

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