Athletes Park unveiled

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About 100 youngsters participating in community sports projects and in the City Hall sports villages, as well as Natalia Falavigna, taekwondo world champion in 2005 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games bronze medallist, and Joao Gabriel Schlittler, 2007 judo World Championship bronze medallist, were on Saturday, 6 August 2011, the first to experience the Athletes' Park, the first new venue for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to be completed, five years before the Opening Ceremony.

Just 300 meters from the Olympic and Paralympic Village, in the Barra area, the 123. 000m▓ park is the result of a 44m Brazilian reais (around $18m) investment made by the municipal government. During the Games, it will be exclusively dedicated to the athletes leisure and rest. Up until 2016 the area will play host to a series of events beginning in September and October with the fourth Rock in Rio festival (previously held in the site where the Athletes' Village will be built). Two subsequent editions of the festival are already slated for the new site in 2013 and 2015. In addition to a site dedicated to mega events, the city will inherit a new park after the Games, in an area devoid of recreational public spaces. In addition to the Rio 2016 president, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, and the Olympic Public Authority (APO) president, Marcio Fortes, authorities taking part in the unveiling included the Foreign Affairs minister, Antonio Patriota; the Rio de Janeiro mayor, Eduardo Paes; and the Rio de Janeiro states Sport and Leisure secretary, Marcia Lins. Nuzman revealed that the athletes will be heard on the activities and facilities to be provided by the park: " This will be an area for leisure, rest and meditation that are so important to the athletes participating in the Games. We will carry out a survey of athletes at the London Games village next year to hear what they would like the park to offer. " Mayor Eduardo Paes stressed that the unveiling of the park is yet another evidence that the Olympics are already transforming the city: " The most important part of the Games is what they leave for the city. And with five years to go to the Opening Ceremony, we are already giving Rio a new recreational area. " Marcio Fortes hailed the date as an important milestone in the preparations for the Games: " This is yet another step forward in the work we have been doing. I have already been meeting with all levels of the Games organisation so that other steps like this are taken. " Natalia Falavigna said that completion of the construction on the venue helps build up the Olympic atmosphere in Rio: It's great that the city can experience the Olympics Games even before they take place. On 5 August, the Organising Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games marked the five–years–to–go milestone by highlighting the positive changes that the Games preparations are bringing, as the city gears up for 2016. During an event at the City Palace, Rio de Janeiro, Rio 2016 president Carlos Arthur Nuzman presented a progress report to assembled dignitaries that detailed the work already achieved, including the start of renovation work at venues such as the Maracana Stadium and the Sambodromo, and the security improvements that are already benefiting more than 300, 000 people in 18 communities. Nuzman also described the intangible gains arising from the Games, including an increased debate on sustainability and accessibility, growing sport participation, the heightened tourism status of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, the rediscovery and recognition of the countrys culture, and the rising self–esteem of Brazilians. Today we already experience the transforming power of the Games, said Nuzman. Undoubtedly the choice of Rio to host the 2016 competitions has been turning the eyes of the world towards the city and the country. I would like to reiterate my confidence that we will successfully fulfil our mission and that, in five years time, we will deliver excellent Games that will be the evidence of sustainable transformation through sport.

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