For many Brazilian athletes, the chance to compete at a home Games in Rio will be the highlight of their career. But for future generations of the country’s elite sportsmen and women, the 2016 Olympics will just be the start of the journey towards fulfilling their dreams elsewhere.
After Rio 2016, six of the nine Games venues in the Olympic Park will be transformed into what will be Brazil’s first Olympic Training Centre (OTC), paving the way for future Team Brazil athletes. The complex will also include several venues at the Deodoro cluster such as the equestrian centre, the hockey centre and the BMX track.
The legacy plans won the approval of Brazil’s basketballers. Iziane Castro, forward with Brazil’s national team, said: “We were missing a training centre of excellence. We demand a lot of our athletes and with this training centre, it’s already a step towards having the right conditions to compete with the best in the world.”
As well as Carioca 1 and 2, the OTC will have an Olympic-standard athletics track and two beach volleyball courts. It will also have accommodation built from the nomadic structure of the International Broadcast Centre, with a capacity of 166 twin bedrooms.
Along with high-performance and amateur athletes, the 40,000m2 training centre will be open to students at the neighbouring Olympic Experimental School, which will be hosted at Carioca 3 and have places for 850 full-time students after the Games.
The City Hall authorities have already started activities at three other Olympic Experimental Schools, which combine a standard teaching curriculum with top-level sports training.
“The project in itself will be a mark of development for Olympic sport in Brazil because it will give the federations the opportunity to train their athletes in an elite sports centre with the same infrastructure conditions as those found in developed countries,” said Agberto Guimarães, head of sport at the Rio 2016 Committee.
“It will offer the opportunity to a hundred sporting professionals to participate in the preparations of elite athletes and so, it will provide a great opportunity for the development of various sports professionals throughout Brazil.”
The facility will join Brazil’s Pan-American Judo Centre in Bahia and the Olympic Development Centre in Fortaleza as some of the new facilities planned under Brazil’s National Training Network in preparing the next generation of Olympians.
“The Olympic legacy is not only in Rio de Janeiro but in all the regions of Brazil and this network will be unified and will be organised and planned throughout the country,” said Leonardo Picciani, sport minister.