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Rio 2016 masterplanner intent on achieving ‘legacy’ despite Olympic Park problems

By Matthew Campelli    01 Mar 2017
Waste has been dumped in the yards of the Arenas Carioca 1, Carioca 2 and Carioca 3 at the Olympic Park / Isaac Risco-Rodriguez/DPA/PA Images
We have no delusions about the time it will take to make even small inroads to these goals, but it is important to fight for every step
– Bill Hanway, AECOM executive vice-president

AECOM, the architectural firm behind the Rio 2016 Olympic Park masterplan, has pledged to help the Brazilian government achieve its “legacy goals” despite the widely-publicised pictures showing the development damaged and desolate.

Just a few months after the conclusion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, images surfaced of a looted Maracana Stadium with unkempt pitch, a closed Deodoro sports precinct and a US$20m (£16.1m, €18.9m) golf course that is struggling to attract players.

Rio de Janeiro’s City Hall is managing the park and has struggled to find companies to continue its operation, with the Park's tennis facilities and aquatic centre also suffering.

Bill Hanway, executive vice president at AECOM, told Sports Management: “AECOM remains committed to Brazil, with offices in both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and we continue to look for ways to assist the government and developers with achieving the legacy goals.

“We have no delusions about the time it will take to make even small inroads to these goals, but it is important to fight for every step.”

Before the Games began, Hanway said that a focus on sustainable design and temporary venues would create a lasting legacy for the coastal city.

However, he conceded that the flagging Brazilian economy made achieving the legacy difficult despite AECOM putting together a masterplan that gave the city "an opportunity to improve for the long-term benefit of the population".

Hanway also highlighted “political, technical, environmental and operational issues”.

“When Rio was awarded the Games in 2009, the Brazilian economy was booming,” said Hanway. “By 2015, Rio’s economy had collapsed and the political climate became extremely unstable.”

He added: “It is unlikely that the situation will improve significantly in the next two years, but the Olympic Park in Barra has been mapped out for the legacy, which will be driven by the Rio Mais consortium that owns the development rights to the Olympic Park site.”

The current view of the Olympic swimming hall at the Barra Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro / Isaac Risco-Rodriguez/DPA/PA Images
The Maracana Stadium – which hosted the opening ceremony – has been left deserted and looted since / Silvia Izquierdo AP/Press Association Images
The pitch inside the Maracana stadium has been left to dry out / Mario Lobao/AP/Press Association Images
AECOM  Rio 2016  Olympics  Paralympics  Bill Hanway  Maracana 
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