The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has unveiled a campaign document designed to change the reputation of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and highlight how wide ranging legacy benefits are supposedly being realized.
Under the headline “Rio 2016 sets new standards for legacy planning,” a four-page document outlines supposed legacy benefits spanning venues, transport infrastructure and educational and development projects.
It was presented during the ongoing IOC Executive Board meeting.
“Legacy figured prominently in all of the activities linked to the Games and today, we can already see many examples of that planning becoming a reality,” said an introductory blurb.
“From urban development, to economics, to social, to environmental, to youth and sporting legacies, the Olympic Games Rio 2016 has positively impacted the lives of Cariocas and Brazilians in a myriad of ways.
“The following fact sheet provides a brief look at just some of the ways that Rio 2016 made the world a better place through sport.”
It comes after pictures of empty and dilapidated venues in the Olympic Park and other areas were beamed around the world earlier this year.
This included the Maracanã Stadium where Brazil won their historic men’s football gold after stories of stolen seats, smashed windows, brown turf and a “nasty stench” at the venue.
However, signs of improvement have emerged in recent days.
The Maracanã was used for the first time in almost two months last week when Flamengo thrashed Argentinian side San Lorenzo 4-0 in front of 70,000 spectators.
The company behind temporary swimming pools used during the Games disputed reports suggesting they have fallen into disrepair by revealing the new locations where they would be situated.
“For Rio, I think we have to be all aware of the same facts, and they are very clear,” said IOC executive director for the Olympic Games Christophe Dubi when unveiling the report.
“The first is that the city has been transformed and the life of the citizens has been transformed.
“They have a much better transportation system, a much better sewer system, they have much better water quality.
“The second thing is that it definitely had a positive impact on tourism.
“They have much better infrastructure in tourism and they now have the capacity, outside the carnival season, to host tourists in a much better fashion.”
Dubi added that venues will provide the “most important legacy.”
He predicted that the main Olympic Park in Barra de Tijuca will be fully open in July.
“Those venues will be used or will be dismantled, it is a question of time,” he added.
“If you project yourself back to the London situation, the transformation of the Park, which is in a fantastic location in the city, it took many years.
“To be completed and fully utilized, it took more than three years.
“What we are talking about here, is the dismantlement of all the venues in the park, the temporary ones, including the pools.
“The park is not open to the public, bar during the weekend when the main central interior is open, but the rest of the time it is still a construction site.
“Every single venue has a design used for the future, either for the general public or the teams in Brazil
“For some of them work is ongoing and it takes a few months, precisely until July of this summer to have a Park that is fully built.”
The IOC have seemingly stepped-up their information campaign in order to change perceptions and counter the negative coverage which has followed the Games.
“It is tremendously important [to do this], not only for the IOC, but for the citizens of Rio,” Dubi responded when asked if this was the case.
“Their life has been transformed, it’s a message of success and pride.”
IOC Presidential spokesperson Mark Adams, who spoke alongside Dubi today, later accused journalists on Twitter of taking the “easier” option of focusing on photos rather than “facts.”
Dubi, who spent much of last year’s living in Rio de Janeiro preparing for the Games, denied that a corruption investigation surrounding the metro line extension westwards to Barra has anything to do with the Olympics.
This comes despite the extension being hailed as one of the main legacy benefits of Rio 2016.
A Federal investigation has this week targeted Luiz Carlos Velloso, a former Undersecretary of Transportation for the State Government, and Heitor Lopes de Souza, a director for subway operator Riotrilhos.
Both individuals will be charged with money laundering and taking bribes tied to contract extensions for the subway line.
Many other elements in the report have not yet been realised.
Improvements to water quality and the sewer system have already been strongly questioned.
However, the transport has been a generally praised benefit, speeding-up journey times for commuters and residents.
The IOC factsheet can be read in full here.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.