Brazilian Armed Forces to play key role in 2016 Rio Olympic Games

By Geraldine Cook
November 05, 2014

The Brazilian military isn’t just providing security for the 2016 Olympic Games, taking place in Rio de Janeiro August 5 to 21. It will host several competitions, too – and members of the Brazilian Armed Forces are even competing in several of the events.

The Brazilian military isn’t just providing security for the 2016 Olympic Games, taking place in Rio de Janeiro August 5 to 21. It will host several competitions, too – and members of the Brazilian Armed Forces are even competing in several of the events.

Ensuring the public’s safety at all Olympic venues during the game will prove a complex task involving multiple components. “The military will conduct coordination, management and security activities,” the Brazilian Army’s Social Communications Center (CCOMSEx) reports.

Brazil’s experiences from hosting previous tournaments, such as the 2011 Military World Games, will prove beneficial in the upcoming mission.

“Participating as an organization in a sporting event that included almost 4,000 athletes from 112 countries, in which Brazil was the leader in medals won, was certainly more than ‘mission accomplished’,” General Fernando Azevedo e Silva said of the Military World Games. He chaired Brazil’s Military Sporting Commission for those games, and now serves as chairman for the Government Olympic Authority (APO). The APO is a government consortium formed by the federal government, the state of Rio de Janeiro, and the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, with the goal of coordinating preparations for these three entities and conducting the 2016 Games.

New and remodeled facilities

Meanwhile, the Army’s Deodoro Olympic Complex, located in western Rio, will host 11 Olympic competitions – including canoeing, field hockey, equestrian events, the modern pentathlon, rugby, kayaking, and shooting. Additionally, the complex will host four Paralympic events, such as wheelchair fencing and seven-to-a-side soccer.

Nearly 60 percent of the facilities for the Deodoro Complex are already in operation. They were used during the 2007 Pan American Games and the 2011 Military World Games. The complex’s firing ranges will be slightly renovated to meet the requirements of the International Olympic Committee (IOC); remodeling began on July 3, 2014, and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2016.

The Deodoro Complex boasts permanent, temporary and new arenas. The permanent arenas include:

The Sergeant João Carlos de Oliveira Field Hockey Center (Olympic Field Hockey Center), which has two fields that will be remodeled. During the Games, the main field will have 7,500 seats and the secondary field will have 5,000 temporary seats.

The Lieutenant Guilherme Paraense Firing Range (National Sport Firing Range), which will host shooting events. The facility is named after the Army officer who won Brazil’s first Olympic gold medal for the rapid-fire pistol event at Olympic Games in Antwerp in 1920.

General Eloy Menezes Equestrian Park (National Horse Racing Center) will be the venue for jumping events and dressage. The facility will be remodeled and expanded, and will have a new veterinary clinic and 72 apartments for horse handlers and veterinarians.

Colonel Eric Tinoco Marques Modern Pentathlon Center (Modern Pentathlon Aquatic Center) will feature a pool that will be remodeled to meet Olympic standards. The venue will include 2,000 seats.

New facilities and temporary venues

In addition to remodeling these facilities, Brazilian federal authorities plan on constructing three new arenas that will be part of the Deodoro Complex.

These will include the BMX Olympic Center, which will have temporary seating for 7,500 spectators; the Kayaking Olympic Stadium, which will temporarily seat 8,500 people; and Colonel Wenceslau Malta Arena (Deodoro Arena), which will host preliminary rounds for basketball and fencing. This gymnasium will feature a multipurpose sports court and hold up to 5,000 spectators. Following the Games, collapsible bleachers that can seat up to 3,000 people will be removed, leaving room for a second multipurpose sports court.

Brazilian federal officials will also set up two temporary arenas: the Mountain Bike Olympic Park, which will have space for 25,000 spectators, including 5,000 seats and 20,000 standing spaces; and the Rugby and Modern Pentathlon Arena.

At the Brazilian Army’s Gericinó Instructional Camp, meanwhile, military authorities are sprucing up Radical Park (or X-Park), a large green area of 500,000 square meters. When the Games are completed, the military will turn Radical Park over to the community.

“This area can have multipurpose use as a training center for high-performance athletes, and an area for leisure or outdoor activities,” according to the CCOMSEx.

The Games are drawing needed investment to Deodoro

The neighborhood of Deodoro, located next to two military areas, suffers from a precarious sanitation system, constant flooding, and deteriorated roads. Two out of every five residents are dependant on government social services, and the same number low incomes, bringing home no more than twice the minimum wage every month.

But the neighborhood is beginning to attract investments as it continues to make progress on the Deodoro Olympic Complex.

“I’ve lived in Deodoro for over ten years. I raised my two children there, and I have a great attachment to the place,” said Azevedo Silva. “And, being from Rio, I know how important it is to invest in that region.”