2016 Rio Olympics

The Olympics in Rio are Fast Approaching

Olympic-Games-closing-ceremony-and-handover-to-Rio-2016Although the 2016 Olympics in Rio is not currently on our daily news radar, 2016 is fast approaching and the Brazilian people are working extra hard to prepare for it. Added pressure reigns down on this nation since this is the first time that a South American country and the first time that a Portuguese-speaking nation has hosted the Olympic Games – all eyes are looking to this nation with great anticipation. Unfortunately earlier this year, several complaints had been lodged against the leaders of the Rio 2016 Local Organizing Committee to a point where the International Olympic Committee was concerned that they might have to step in to assist in their efforts to ensure that deadlines could be met.
For any nation to prepare for an Olympic Games is a herculean task especially when the Brazilian people, a predominantly poor people, must support its government who is spending billions of dollars towards an event which will last for less than one month – the Olympics will be held August 5th to August 21st, 2016. The hope of the Brazilian government and its people is that the funds spent on the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will inject billions of dollars back in to their economy just as the World Cup of 2014 had done. It has been reported that the World Cup added $4.4 billion to Rio’s economy. So the members of Rio’s Local 2016 Olympic VenueOrganizing Committee together with the city, state and federal governments are all working in tandem to ensure a memorable but profitable celebration to come for its people and for all attendees.
In keeping with the goal of the Brazilian government and its people, the Olympic Park is bustling with activities in preparation of the big event. The Park is made up of four competition zones. They are as follows:
1. Barra da Tijuca, which is centrally located. This will be the home of the Olympic Village.
2. The Deodoro Sports Complex which was started on July 3, 2014. It is the second largest Olympic zone which will include a few venues previously used in the Pan American Games of 2007. This Sports Complex, which will host several Olympic events, will house among others, the equestrian arena, the Bike park and the Canoe Slalom. The Deodoro facilities are currently on schedule and well under way to being completed before the 2016 deadline date.
3. The Copacabana Zone will naturally be the site for the water and beach events such as sailing, canoeing, beach volleyball and others. In fact for one week this past August, sailors from around the world gathered on Guanabara Bay for the first test event to be held in that Zone. It was considered a grand success although there were many complaints about the conditions of the water – several people complained about the high water pollution levels and as a result, the event became a situation where dodging unseen objects below the surface of the water was the ‘order of each day.’
4. The Maracanã Zone where the majority of the events will be held includes two stadiums, the Maracanã Stadium (also known as Engenhão) where the opening and the closing ceremonies are to be held and the João Havelange Olympic Stadium, where track and field events will be held. Of all the four zones, this zone is more ready than all of the others because the two main complexes are already in place, although they do need some repairs before their final opening.
Of course if travel tips to Brazil are to be of benefit to any visitor, one would need to know not only about the Brazilian food, and the Brazilian people, but also about transportation, and how to get to and from the facilities. Now that more Brazilian people have greater access to wealth and education, they are buying more cars and congestion has become a major problem in many Brazilian cities. The Rio government together with private investment intend to spend over $8.5 billion to upgrade its urban transportation system in order to increase the use of public transportation by 300%. Major improvements will be made to the metro system which being extended about 16 km and to the bus-lines so that they can move people around that city more quickly. Much improvement had been made to the infra-structure in preparation of the World Cup and now efforts continue in earnest as the deadline for the 2016 Olympics in Rio is less than 2 years away. I encourage you to read my articles on each of the referenced topics because they will give you many travel tips on how to ensure that you experience an enjoyable yet safe trip to Brazil and will also give you the Do’s and Don’ts of travelling in and out of that beautiful country.
Come August 2016, over 10,000 athletes from around the world are expected to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Therefore in order to support its efforts, the Brazilian Organizing Committee is in search of thousands of volunteers to make their 2016 Olympics a roaring success. Whether you serve in a food pavilion, or you become a part of the security team, whether you work online, if you serve as a translator or on the front lines meeting and greeting the attendees, Rio’s Local Organizing Committee will need over 70,000 volunteers to make this event happen. So if you are interested in helping, you must be 18 years of age or old and you must be available for at least 10 days during the events. If you meet these criteria (and there may be others), you can apply to be a volunteer at: http://www.rio2016.com/volunteers/. I am certain they will need all of the help that they can get and therefore they will welcome you with open arms.

How did Brazil handle the World Cup 2014?

I am certain that many of us, now that we have taken the time to reflect on World Cup 2014, realise that Brazil really did accomplished a tremendous feat, considering the many challenges that they faced.  With budget shortages, numerous protests by members of various local communities, missed deadlines and the like, they ‘pulled it off.’  Bottom line, we all have to admit, it could have been much worse.  It truly was the will of the Brazilian people that got them through.  I am certain that Brazil will need much more assistance to have a successful Olympics 2016.  However, I am encouraged that the Olympic Committee is overseeing their progress and hopefully they will put in place ALL of the necessary support to ensure that this struggling but flavourful nation will present to the world an exciting, colourful and memorable event as World Cup 2014.  CNN’s Shasta Darlington took time to review their successes and their failures.

World Cup final: Germany defeats Argentina…

By James Masters,CNN;July 14, 2014 — Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)

(CNN) — Never bet against Germany.

In a world where so much can change so quickly, perhaps it is reassuring that there is one constant which remains.
The nation which had ripped Brazil’s dreams to shreds in the semifinals, won its fourth World Cup after a tense 1-0 victory over Argentina Sunday.

Mario Gotze’s strike, seven minutes from the end of extra time, ensured Germany ended its 24-year wait for glory at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium.

For all the doubters who said that no European side would or could ever win the World Cup on South American soil, there was one team which refused to listen.

Lazy stereotypes often abound when describing German football.

The words ‘organized’, ‘ruthless’ or ‘machine’ are bandied about along with that other cliché, ‘efficient.’

To use those words to describe this German side would not only do it a disservice — it would ignore the wonderful talent which passes through the veins of each and every player.http://www.trippintobrazil.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Germany has long threatened to rule the world.

In 2006, it came close, bowing out at the semifinal stage after a painful defeat by Italy in a tournament held in its own country.

Two years later, it was beaten in the final of the European Championships by Spain before the same opposition ended its World Cup dream in South Africa. (Read the remainder of this article at:  http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/13/sport/football/world-cup-final-germany-argentina-football/index.html?iid=article_sidebar)

Four key takeaways from World Cup 2014

By Amy Bass
July 14, 2014 — Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)

(CNN) — This World Cup final looked to answer a question that has been surfacing throughout this tournament, and perhaps — considering the hold King James has had on U.S. basketball fans in the past few weeks — all of sports: Is it the team, or is it the star?

The last game of this tournament pitted the best player in the world, Messi, against the best team in the world, Germany. And if nothing else, this match demonstrated definitively that while players like Messi might win games, teams like Germany win titles.

So Messi gets the Golden Ball. Germany gets everything else.

After steamrolling its way over Brazil to make the final, Germany looked to be a favorite for the title despite its early draw with Ghana. For Argentina, at stake was the lure of claiming the title on the home turf of its arch rival, Brazil, which finished a devastatingly disappointing fourth after losing in Saturday’s match against the Dutch.

But the depth of Germany was too much for Argentina in the end. While Thomas Müller — who started the tournament with a hat trick against Portugal and whose goal against Brazil in the semifinal made him only the second player in history to score five goals in consecutive World Cups — has been one of the stars of these past weeks, it was an extra-time goal by Mario Götze, who came off the bench, that propelled Germany to the top.

So with play over for another four years, what have we learned?

Sports matter: As we have seen time and time again with the Olympic Games, politics do not cease to exist when players step onto the field, the court or the pitch. This tournament proved yet again what a critical window sport provides into the world we live in, particularly considering the fiery protests that greeted the Brazilian government when it signed on the dotted line to host. The billions spent on bringing the most-watched sporting event in the world to Brazil put the country’s government into a fragile state as protestors told FIFA World Cup 2014 to “GO HOME.” But the politics were not reserved for the streets of São Paulo and Rio: Inside the stadiums we saw fans in blackface when Germany faced Ghana and a spike in the use of “Nazi” on Twitter when Germany faced both Brazil and the United States. (Read the remainder of this article at: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/13/opinion/bass-world-cup-final-takeaways/index.html?iref=allsearch)

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Germany erupts with joy …

By Euan McKirdy, CNN
July 15, 2014 — Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)

(CNN) — In a twist of fate, the hosts’ vanquishers became the heroes. Germany’s Mario Götze’s late, late strike made the difference in the final against Argentina, and his sublime goal prevented Brazil’s neighbors and arch-rivals from lifting the trophy.

The two finalists played out an entertaining match that left both the teams’ fans and neutrals on the edge of their seats until almost the last kick of the game. Ultimately, all it lacked was the goals that these Brazil crowds have come to expect.

Huge street party

The German capital came alive at the final whistle, with cars taking to the packed streets, waving German flags and scarves. Up to 500,000 fans packed into the huge fan zone in the center of the city, which was extended to 1.3 kilometer from the city’s iconic Brandenburg Gate to accommodate the throngs of expectant fans.

The city, whose mood wasn’t dampened by the rain that fell throughout the match, hosted fans from all over the country, and beyond.

The crowd in the Mitte district of Berlin erupted as Götze’s goal went in on the 113th minute. The Bayern Munich star took Andre Schürrle’s pass on his chest before displaying exquisite technique to volley the ball past Sergio Romero.

The raucous street parties that followed were intermittently interrupted by celebratory car horns. It is the country’s fourth World Cup, and its first as a unified Germany.

Fans in the capital told CNN that they planned to party well into the early hours of the morning.

Traveling fans celebrate in Rio

Outside Rio de Janerio’s famous stadium, German fans were equally delirious.

“I feel very, very good, this is the best day of my life,” a exuberant fan named Lars told CNN outside the stadium. “We say before the Maracana, this is an amazing place, but I must say this is a fantastic day for my whole life.” (Read the remainder of this article at: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/13/sport/football/germany-world-cup-win-reaction/index.html?eref=wcfbpulse_m)

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World Cup: Brazil fails to shine against Mexico

By James Masters, CNN;  June 17, 2014 — Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT

(CNN) — Brazil’s World Cup has been a carnival of color — but this was a monochrome affair in Fortaleza.

A dour goalless draw against Mexico is unlikely to prevent the host nation from qualifying for the next stage but this game will soon be forgotten.

Even with Neymar at the helm, the face of Brazil’s World Cup challenge, it rarely looked like finding a way past a determined and stubborn Mexican side.
And when Brazil did managed to create a chance, it found Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in irrepressible form.

“There was a chance here, a chance there, it was very tight,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told reporters.

“It wasn’t a question of us evolving or not (from the last game). We’ve been playing this way for 20 games, we are up against good teams, we need to understand that.

“It wasn’t a good result, a victory would have qualified us. We need to respect other teams.”

After the thrilling excitement of the last week’s 3-1 win over Croatia, those packed into the stadium in Fortaleza may have expected another action-packed affair.
Instead, what transpired was a rather turgid affair as Brazil failed to find the fluency which eventually put Croatia to the sword in Sao Paulo.

See the remainder of this article at: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/17/sport/football/brazil-mexico-world-cup-football/index.html?hpt=ila_c1.

Neymar not taxed by poor form …

By Tom Sweetman and Amanda Davies, for CNN
May 1, 2014 — Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)

(CNN) — He came from Brazil to leading Spanish club Barcelona in a mega-bucks transfer touted as the new Lionel Messi.
A series of niggling injuries this season put paid to any hope of Neymar living up to those high expectations, while the tax issues surrounding his complicated transfer from Santos cast a shadow over his new career in Europe.

But the Brazilian, who has managed just nine league goals for Barcelona since touching down in Catalonia, is quick to rule out any correlation — as some have done — between those off-field issues and his form in a “Blaugrana” shirt this season.

Which will be a relief to Brazil given how important Neymar is to their team and its hopes of winning the World Cup on home soil.

“No, I don’t think [it has affected my performances]. I’m used to leaving all those problems aside, I’m very relaxed when it comes to that,” said Neymar, who was talking to CNN at a Castrol Footkhana event.

“It’s unpleasant when everyone is talking about things that are not true, but on the pitch it doesn’t get in the way.”

True or not Neymar’s club is being investigated over tax fraud regarding the transfer — which Barcelona was forced to confirm actually totaled 86.2 million euros rather than the 57.1 million euros first announced — while Sandro Rosell had to step down from his role as president as controversy over the deal intensified.

Neymar’s former club Santos, meanwhile, is unhappy with how the transfer fee was divided up — with a large chunk having been paid to a company controlled by the player’s father, Neymar Snr — and has been seeking a bigger cut than the 17.1 million euros it originally received. 

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Kentucky beats Wisconsin, will face Connecticut for NCAA title

The Wildcats won on a three-point shot by Aaron Harrison with five seconds left in the game.

“Whoever had the ball last who could make a shot would win this game,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in a post-game interview.

On Monday, Kentucky will face Connecticut in the championship game. Connecticut beat top-ranked Florida 63-53 in the first game Saturday.

Attendance was 79,444 Saturday night at the Final Four at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, breaking the previous record of 78,129, according to the NCAA March Madness Twitter feed. The championship game will be played at the same site.

Kentucky finished their season strong but ended up as a No. 8 seed in their regional tournament. Wisconsin was a No. 2 seed in their region.

Florida was the top seed for the entire tournament and held a 12-point lead midway through the first half.

Connecticut, a No. 7 seed in its region, roared back, taking a slight lead at the half and expanding the bulge early in the second half.

“They showed us some true grit and toughness,” Connecticut coach Kevin OIlie said in the post-game press conference.

Shabazz Napier said he and his teammates didn’t panic when they trailed 16-4 early in the game.

“We’ve been through a lot of dog fights and continue to believe in each other,” he said.

Florida coach Billy Donovan praised the Huskies’ comeback.

“Once they got their defense set I think we had a hard time handling their pressure,” he said.

Scottie Wilbekin of Florida, the player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, only scored four points. “On offense we couldn’t get anything going,” he said.


Soccer & World Cup 2014

Neymar 2014 – Goals, Skills, Assists HD by Ronaldo 7dotNET

To begin, have a look (above) at what you will be enjoying during your trip to Brazil this June 2014. From the fancy footwork and skill of Neymar, to Oscar dos Santos, William Borges and others.  Enjoy!  But do read on.  We have so much more to share.

One thing I can say, no matter the league, or division, soccer is of a very high standard in Brazil and it is enjoyed Final.Stadiumby young and old, male and female.  This sport is what makes Brazil the world-wide winner in the sport.  There are a number of soccer clubs in Sao Paulo, however whenever Sao Paulo Soccer Club (supposedly the wealthy Brazilians) played the Corinthians (pronounced Cor-in-chins – the Brazilian poor) it is the game of the month.  Everything stops in this large city and all eyes are on the television.  Whie pizza shops on every corner busy themselves making and delivering pizzas of all kinds – with such tasty selections as olives,  pineapple, calabresa (an Italian pork sausage), various types of cheeses etc., the fans are scurrying about and setting off firecrackers throughout our neighborhood in Vila Marianna when their favorite team scores a goal.  The competition is “HOT!” (I speak in the present because I know that although I have left Sao Paulo, it is still that way today and will remain so for years to come. 

I have always sided with the underdogs, the ‘Corichins’ although my team was the team Pelé played for,final.fans instadium Santos.  Believe me when I tell you, I witnessed the best soccer I have ever seen.  Soccer is played in my country today, however, when gangs patrolled the field and people started to get hurt, it took the fun out of going to a soccer game.  This is not to say that going to a soccer game in Brazil is safe, because they get very emotional when their team is losing.  I have learned many a curse word which is hurled out to the referees and the opposing side by women, children, men or whoever feels that an unfair call has been made.

World Cup 2014

To those persons who are planning to go to World Cup games, apply to: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/index.html for tickets. Please make note of the fact that there is a specific method to ordering tickets for those who live outside of Brazil.  If you are going to attend, for your information, over 2 million tickets have already been distributed to fans so time is passing and you need to purchase your tickets as soon as possible so that you will not miss out on some of the finest soccer to be seen anywhere in the world.  Once again, I will warn you that getting tickets is a process in itself.  To my knowledge, you have to apply to the Brazilian government to get tickets.  You just cannot go to Brazil and scurry up to a window where the games are to be held and buy a ticket.  If you click on the above referenced FIFA website, you will get all of the required forms needed to apply for your tickets and you will also be able to choose your seats. BUT, this is not a once off process as you will see.  Nothing in Brazil is instant.  EVERYTHING takes time.  If it takes 10 minutes for you to get something done in Bermuda or in the U.S., you’ll be guaranteed that it will take an hour or more, even days in Brazil.  That’s just the way it is folks.  Get it in your head now and be thankful if you are able to accomplish anything in record time.  That’s rare.

In terms of safety, it is always best to get friendly with the staff in your hotel, bed and breakfast, hostel etc. and ask as many questions as you need answered.  Remember, you are not going to find many Brazilians who can answer your questions.  On a few occasions, I actually asked the crowd around me, “Is there anyone here who speaks English!”  Fortunately the odd person would offer to assist.  Sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t.  Remember, you should never put your purse or backpack on the floor and you cannot turn your back on your purse for a minute.  Folks, you will be going into an atmosphere similar to any other large city.  Govern yourselves accordingly.  Take minimal cash.  And yes, remember certain items are not permitted into the games, so ask before you leave where you are staying, what items are permissible and what items are not.  Umbrellas for example are not permitted into most venues. 

Brazilian Weather can be unpredictable.  Remember they are in the summer season now but during the World Final.Soccer WeatherCup, they will be in Autumn,  (Fall) and Winter.  Oh yes, their seasons are the opposite of those in the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean.  The  weather can be very unpredictable.  Their seasons are as follows:

Spring:    22nd September – 21st December
ummer: 22nd December – 21st March
Autumn:  22nd M
arch – 21st June
Winter:   22nd June – 21st September

I have experienced three different seasons in one day, so do NOT underestimate the weather there.  It could be sunny one minute and storming, rainy and cold the next.  So make sure you take the proper attire and enjoy the games.