Rio 2016 Olympics

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Rio 2016: Usain Bolt, from strong child to track king

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - As Usain Bolt won his seventh gold medal at Rio de Janeiro's Olympic stadium to consolidate his status as the most decorated sprinter of all time, there was a corner of the Games' host city that paid tribute to his black, gold and green roots. In Jamaica House, based at Rio's Jockey Club, the DJ stopped the reggae only for the 100m final, which Bolt won in 9.81 seconds. The crowd, packed into the sell-out venue, erupted as Bolt overtook Justin Gatlin in a tight race be

Rio 2016: Divided Brazil welcomes the Olympic Games

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - "Is there still space in the Maracana? So many people," says Eliezer Gomes de Andrade, marvelling at the Olympics participants arriving at the stadium from the TV screen in the corner of the room. A Brazilian flag hung below the screen and was surrounded by fairy lights and a homemade Olympics rings made from hula-hoops. Andrade has lived in Pereira da Silva favela - that overlooks the Maracana stadium - in Rio de Janeiro for 40 years, and watching the opening ceremony

Rio 2016 Olympics: Inspirational Rafaela Silva hopes to achieve sweet redemption in her home city

Barely five miles separate Carioca Arena 2, the stadium that will host judo at the Olympics, from the city’s notorious Cidade de Deus favela, but for Rafaela Silva they must seem on opposite sides of the world. She will make that glittering new stadium her own on Monday when she fights in the 57kg category as one of Brazil’s brightest hopes for a gold medal. But the journey that has taken her there began in that same favela, where violence was part of everyday life and even small children had t

Brazilian Olympic Sailors Concerned About the Legacy of the 2016 Games

Much has been made of the power of the Olympics to leave a lasting legacy in Rio de Janeiro, from improvements in public transport to investment in sports and education. The authorities in Rio de Janeiro state have long since accepted they will not meet their target of treating 80 per cent of the sewage that reaches Guanabara Bay, which will host the Rio 2016 regattas. "There are two projects that are the responsibility of the state government - a big challenge - which are the depollution of G

Brazilian Olympic Sailors Concerned About the Legacy of the 2016 Games

Much has been made of the power of the Olympics to leave a lasting legacy in Rio de Janeiro, from improvements in public transport to investment in sports and education. The authorities in Rio de Janeiro state have long since accepted they will not meet their target of treating 80 per cent of the sewage that reaches Guanabara Bay, which will host the Rio 2016 regattas. "There are two projects that are the responsibility of the state government - a big challenge - which are the depollution of G

Rio's 'wall of shame' between its ghettos and shiny Olympic image

On one side of the wall are the bright, new, welcoming Olympic façades for Rio 2016. On the other, a drug den guarded by armed traffickers. As the first of 10,000 athletes start to arrive in Rio on Sunday, they will pass the vivid posters, pasted onto a 10 foot high barrier, stretching for five miles along the motorway out of the international airport. But the colourful partition hides the inequality that polarises the Olympic city as it prepares to welcome the world. Behind it lies Maré, a c

Rio 2016: Police crackdown raises rights concerns

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Close to Rio de Janeiro's international airport - where thousands of Olympic athletes will arrive this month - a little girl missed her first ballet lesson because an armed police manhunt sent her community into lockdown. About 80 children were trapped in an NGO building where they were taking part in activities last Wednesday as the search for a fugitive drug lord went into the evening. With one month until the start of Rio 2016, a judge has warned that the city's pop

Haitian quake survivors welcomed in Brazil's Amazon

Manaus, Brazil - Halfway through the Olympic torch relay - a spectacle designed to unite Brazil behind Rio 2016 - torchbearer No 35 lifted the flame to cheers of "Haiti! Haiti!" Abdias Dolce, 28, was one of thousands of Haitians who arrived in the Amazonian city of Manaus after the devastating 2010 earthquake in their country that killed more than 200,000. He had been studying in Port-au-Prince when the disaster struck and said the impact of the quake led to him travelling south to build a new

Brazil battles to save Rio Olympics as WHO says it will look again at Zika risk

When Brazil began its "war" against the Zika virus epidemic, the mosquito was described as enemy number one. But with less than two months until the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the health crisis has now become a battle of public opinion as authorities scramble to convince the world it is safe to host the Games. While experts argue over whether the 500,000 expected visitors could spread Zika to new areas, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has bowed to international pressure and said it would

"No Teachers, No Doctors," and More Police Violence: How the Rio Olympics May Victimise Street Children

Penha, where Silva lives, is one of dozens of favelas in Rio to have been "pacified," or occupied by special police. Brazil launched its occupation strategy in 2008, the year after it won the right to host the 2014 World Cup and a year before Rio won its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The country's security secretary says that pacification is unrelated to either event. Silva, who idolizes Brazilian football sensation Marta and former Botafogo star Clarence Seedorf, recently was one of th

Rio's International Sailing Regatta: Competitors faced with dead dogs

Competitors at Rio de Janeiro’s International Sailing Regatta say they have had to take precautions to avoid falling ill in the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay. The test event, marking the official start of the two-year countdown to the 2016 Olympics, has entrants from 34 countries including Team GB, which aims to win medals across the 10 classes. But while it offers the chance for sailors to get to know the racing environment, the venue has been criticised for the high levels of sewage and r

Rio Olympics 2016: Flagship £20m cable car at the heart of

A rundown part of Rio de Janeiro is being regenerated ahead of the 2016 Olympics, with £20 million spent on a flagship cable car. Authorities hope to imitate the transformation of east London before the 2012 games by improving Providência, the city’s oldest favela. The cable car was built to make it easier for residents to get from the hillside community near the port to downtown Rio. It has now been officially opened — just before the second anniversary of the London games. It forms part of

Rugby Sevens: Brazil adding samba style to scrum for 2016

In the shadow of the Maracana – the iconic Brazilian stage graced by legends of the beautiful game – an old footballing dog is learning new tricks. Just half a mile from the stadium in which next year’s Fifa World Cup winners will be crowned, a group of men and women are practising scrums, line-outs and drills in a city park in the unforgiving 38-degree heat of a Brazilian summer. Meanwhile, after the sun sets on Ipanema beach on a Wednesday evening, dozens of players for one of Rio’s most succ


Growing Basketball in Brazil's Favelas

"Most of [the courts] aren't covered so when it rains, the court gets wet and we can't play," said Leandro Lima, 33, an amateur player who lives in Rocinha. "There's no maintenance or support. And they're always poly-sports areas so we have to share with other sports and people from other neighborhoods. We're always hoping for things to improve." "Jr. NBA has already had success in various parts of the world for years," said Samy Vaisman, spokesman for the initiative, which is also present in S

A Snapshot From the Inaugural World Indigenous Games

With more than 2,000 athletes from around 30 different countries, the first international multi-sport event for native people was an unruly clash of tradition and modernity, politics and performance. The inaugural World Indigenous Games in Brazil was as chaotic as it was colourful. While the 6ft-tall Maoris of New Zealand took on a diminutive Amazonian tribe at tug of war, teenagers from Brazil's Paresi people warmed up for head football and a group of adolescent girls breached security to pro

A new kind of fight to fix Brazil's favelas

Though the postcards show the golden sands of Copacabana, the first sight to greet anyone arriving from Rio de Janeiro's international airport is thousands of bare, clay-coloured shanties spreading across the horizon. Unlike many of the city's favelas, which grew up on hillsides, Complexo da Maré is a flat, low-lying mass of homogenous, ramshackle houses in a seemingly never-ending sprawl. The settlement, home to some 130,000 people, is in fact a collection of 16 favela communities. But inside

2014 FIFA World Cup

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World Cup 2014: The 6 minutes that brought down Brazil

After all the preparations, all the fears and all the hype, it took only six minutes for Germany to end Brazil’s World Cup dream. With just two wins between the host nation and a record sixth World Cup title, Brazilians came to Tuesday's semi-final with a mixture of nerves and anticipation. The usual ritual of horns, face paint and lucky shirts took on a new significance as the depleted side lined up as underdogs without stars Neymar and Thiago Silva. Nevertheless, expectation remained as hig

World Cup 2014: Brazil's Street Child tournament captain gunned down on his 14th birthday

Like millions of teenagers, Rodrigo Kelton idolised Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar, writes Donna Bowater for the Sunday People in Fortaleza, Brazil. The schoolboy, born in the World Cup host city of Fortaleza, dreamed of being a top striker like his hero. And he was due to captain the Brazilian boys’ team in the Street Child World Cup, a British-inspired competition starting next week for kids from around the globe who have slept rough. But horrifyingly, Rodrigo was gunned down on his 14th

Police brutality marring run-up to Brazil World Cup

Anger has mounted in Brazil, where the construction bill for 12 stadiums has reached more than $3 billion. Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images RIO DE JANEIRO — As the truncheon blows rained down on Vinicius Duarte, the 26-year-old university student tried to engage the police officers who continued beating him on the floor. All he could hear were voices pleading with them to stop, as he suffered bruises and red welts across his face with every strike. But the scene inside the Linson Hotel in

For some in Brazil, World Cup means evictions

Where there was once a soccer field in this city in southern Brazil, there is a highway. And where there were once shanty homes, there are piles of timber, bricks and the debris of those who used to live there. The reason is the World Cup. The mega-event that will play out this summer in a dozen Brazilian cities is driving a frenzy of road construction, airport renovations and other projects. The impact is being felt most strongly among the poorest citizens, including residents of Porto Alegr

'Trip to favelas was a real eye-opener', says Arsenal and England star

Arsenal and England women’s footballer Alex Scott says her visit to a tough Rio de Janeiro favela was an “eye-opener” as she heard stories of children living amid drug crime and violence. The defender met youngsters from Complexo da Penha in the north of the city as part of her trip with Street Child World Cup, a tournament taking place in Brazil ahead of the Fifa World Cup next year for street children around the world. Brazil’s girls’ team will come from the Favela Street project run by the