Rio Opens Arms to World's Olympians -- On the Scene

(ATR) Rio de Janeiro is ready to receive the world’s top athletes.

(ATR) Rio de Janeiro is ready to receive the world’s top athletes.

Rio City Hall passed control of the Olympic Village today to the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, to install final preparations before opening the venue on July 24. Mayor Eduardo Paes inaugurated the complex along with Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman, IOC President Thomas Bach, Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani, and developer Carlos Carvalho.

Paes thanked Carvalho and construction consortium Odebrect for helping finance the project saving the Federal Government of Brazil money from having to use taxpayer money to construct the village.

The 2016 Olympic Village contains 3,600 apartments and will house 17,950 athletes during the Olympics and Paralympics.

The village sits at the end of the Transolimpica highway which connects the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood of Rio to Deodoro in the city’s north zone. The highway will be used during the Games to connect the Olympic Park to the Deodoro Park cutting travel times between the two areas in town down to around 20-30 minutes.

During the presentation of the venue President Bach referred to the village as "one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen." As a legacy for the Games, apartments from the village are expected to be sold for residential use starting in 2017.

"In this Olympic Village, the heart of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 will beat," Bach told reporters.

"It is from this Olympic Village where the message of the Olympic Games will go to the Cariocas, to the Brazilians, and to the world. If ever somebody speaks with you about the Olympic spirit, this is the place where the Olympic spirit lives."

After presenting the venue Bach, Nuzman, Paes, and Picciani went to tour a room in the village to see how the 2016 Olympians will be living. Bach is then expected to meet with the two members of the IOC refugee athlete team Popole Misenga and Yolande Bukasa Mabika who live and train in Rio de Janeiro. At the conclusion of the meeting Bach will then visit the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee headquarters where he will take part in a project review.

Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro.

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