Welcome to Brazil's Garden of the Gods

A guide to the places where glory will be won—and where the victors will live, sleep, and train

Aug 1, 2016
Outside Magazine
Avenida Lucio Costa, Barra da T

Where Olympians win glory.    Photo: Ruy Barbosa Pinto/Getty

Welcome to Barra! 

It might not be as storied as Rio ’hoods like Copacabana and Ipanema, but Barra da Tijuca is one of the city’s swankiest. It’s being called the Heart of the Games by organizers, because it’s home to the Olympic Park. 

The Numbers 

The housing complex at the Olympic Village is made up of 31 buildings with 17 floors each, split into a variety of two-to-five-bedroom apartments. It seems spacious, but it must accommodate 11,000 athletes and 7,000 sup-port staff.

Last-Minute Tune-Up

A vast training center is equipped with almost 1,000 strength and cardio machines, and a nearby clinic houses a cryotherapy, massage, and rehab facility big enough to treat 100 athletes at a time.

  Photo: Bryan Christie Design

Try Again

Rio already had a velodrome before it won the Olympic bid, but the UCI declared it unfit for competition. The construction company hired to build a new one declared bankruptcy 67 days before the opening ceremony, however, making it one of the last venues to be completed.


The Olympic Arena, where the gymnastics and wheelchair basketball events will take place, is one of only two venues in the Olympic Park that predate the 2016 Games. Built for the 2007 Pan American Games, it has hosted NBA events, UFC bouts, and concerts by Iron Maiden and Miley Cyrus.

For the Children

The Arena do Futuro, or Future Arena, where the handball and goalball competitions are scheduled to be held, will be dismantled and transformed into neighborhood public schools.

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