Olympic Flag Arrives in Rio, Preparations Begin for 2016

Ana Abraham

This past summer, all eyes were on London.

BBC News estimated that an astounding one billion people, or approximately one seventh of the world’s population, tuned in to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Huffington Post reported that 219.4 million Americans watched at least some part of the events from London, which made these Games the most viewed television event in United States television history.

What city has the honor (and challenge) of trying to beat London’s outstanding Olympic ratings in another four years? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The city that lost the title of Brazilian capital in 1960 will host the 2016 Olympic Games, but much work will need to precede the next Opening Ceremonies.

Before the flame of the Olympic Torch was extinguished in London on Sunday, Aug. 12, the Olympic Flag, and thus the official responsibilities of the Games, were handed over to Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes.

The day after the official close of the London Games, the flag arrived in Rio, where it will reside for the next four years. The Flag features the five-ringed symbol of the games, representing the five major areas of the world from which athletes compete-Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Australia.

The symbol also promotes world unity and peace. The flag itself was created for the 1988 Seoul, South Korea Games, and will be held in Rio’s City Hall during its time in the city.

Mayor Paes recognizes that the next four years of intense planning will not be easy for his city and its residents, or their nation. In addition to hosting the Olympics, Brazil is hosting the 2014 soccer World Cup.

Between these two major events, much construction has to take place in highly populated areas. Hundreds of thousands of people are possibly at risk of being removed from their homes to allow for new structures and projects to begin to take shape.

Although, Paes said that sometimes the most significant effects of the Games are “the intangible transformations, the impalpable ones related to the brand of a country, the brand of a city, with the self-esteem of a country.”

London is a city with an incredible history which managed to put on an incredible show for 17 days of worldwide competition.

Rio de Janeiro, another city rich in history, has assumed the responsibility of following London’s act in 2016.

Beginning with the arrival of the Olympic flag on Brazilian soil on Aug. 13, Rio specifically, and Brazil as a whole have embarked on a four-year journey of planning for the biggest event on the world stage.

It will definitely be interesting to see what they come up with.