Preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will reach an important stage in August this year when the organising committee stages its first test event. The sailing competition Guanabara Bay will herald the start of the test event programme, which up to May 2016 will involve 45 sports events at Rio 2016 Games venues and will include Irish representation. These will provide the organising committee with a practical opportunity to assess all stages of the operations involved in delivering the main events two years from now.
“Our priority during these events is to test the competition areas and results systems. These are fundamental parts of the venues which should perform flawlessly to allow athletes to produce their best. We will also have the opportunity to plan and assess the operation of venues and measure the impact of the events on the city,” said Agberto Guimarães, Rio 2016’s Executive Director of Sport and Paralympic Integration.
Test events are a crucial part of any organising committee’s work. For example, the 2012 London Games organisers staged 42 test events, involving 8,000 athletes and 30,000 staff. Delphine Moulin, Rio 2016’s Test Events General Manager, said these events also represent a unique opportunity to bring together everyone who will be responsible for running the Olympic and Paralympic competitions.
“The test events will provide the first opportunity to train those tasked with operating venues during the Games and to integrate the committee’s team with International Sports Federations and governments, who also have an important role to play in the delivery of the Games,” Moulin said.
Between 2 and 9 August this year, some 400 sailors from the 10 Olympic classes will compete in Guanabara Bay in the first Rio 2016 test event. Irish Chef de Mission Kevin Kilty will be in Rio with a small group of performance directors during this time and will get first hand feedback of the venue through Irish Sailing PD James O’Callaghan.
However, the majority of the test events will take place during the second half of 2015. From July to October next year, test events for open-air sports disciplines such as the marathon, triathlon and beach volleyball will take place. The idea is to hold them at the same time of year as the Games themselves, to replicate likely climatic conditions. Between November 2015 and January 2016, when the Rio summer is at its most intense, indoor sports will be the focus of the programme. The final period of competitions will run from March to late May 2016. These will include some of the biggest test events and will be an opportunity to practise and evaluate operations with a nearly full-strength team.
Twenty-five of the 45 competitions will be operated by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, with the remaining 20 under the responsibility of the respective sport’s International Federation or Brazilian Federation, although Rio 2016 will test specific operations during these events. The detailed Test Event Calendar will be released later this year.
(Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)