Rio 2016: A guide to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are approaching quickly. The Olympic Games bring the world together. Athletes from countries from all over the world meet in the same place in celebration of sport and competition to find out who is the world’s best.

Called the biggest sporting event on the planet, the 2016 Summer Games are hosted by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, beating bids from other cities such as Madrid, Spain, Tokyo, Japan and Chicago.

“Rio earned the right to host the 2016 Olympic Games on October 2, 2009, beating Madrid by a vote of 66-32. The city proved itself capable of hosting a multi-sport Games thanks to the 2007 Pan American and Parapan American Games. In 2014 cities all around Brazil, including Rio, hosted the FIFA World Cup, which the country previously played host to in 1950,” says

This will be the first Olympic Games to be held in a South American country. To help get you ready and excited for what is sure to be a memorable Olympics, here are some interesting facts information about Rio de Janeiro.

Quick facts

Rio is one of the largest cities in the world. Considered to be the cultural and intellectual hub of Brazil, it is home to more than 12 million residents. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, and it is the language most widely spoken in Rio. Located on the Atlantic Coast, Rio is a popular tourist destination and is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere.

Rio Olympics, by the numbers

  • The games will be held from August 5 to 21, 2016
  • 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will compete
  • There will be 306 medal events (136 for women, 161 for men and 9 mixed events)
  • 42 sports will be contested, including popular events such swimming, Greco-Roman wrestling, beach volleyball, cycling, weightlifting, tennis, basketball, soccer and gymnastics
  • There are two new sports this year: golf and rugby
  • There are 32 event venues across four regions of the city
  • There are 7.5 million tickets available for events
  • Running this Summer Games takes 6,500 employees, 45,000 volunteers and 85,000 outsourced staff members
  • The Paralympic Games run from September 7 to 18, 2016

Learn more about Rio by visiting

Canada in Rio 2016

Canada won one gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, and more is expected of our athletes in Rio, where more than 250 athletes from Canada will compete. According to CBC’s medal prediction table, based on world championship results and international competitions leading up to the Games, Canadians are predicted to win 18 medals in 2016, enough for 15th place overall. Here is the breakdown:

  • Gold: 3
  • Silver: 3
  • Bronze: 12

The United States is predicted to go home with the most medals (101), with China having the second-most (81) and Russia the third-most (64).

Some of the athletes to watch in Rio include:

  • Ryan Cochrane (swimming)
  • Emily Overholt (swimming)
  • Mark Oldershaw (canoe/kayak)
  • Ellie Black (gymnastics)
  • Jennifer Abel (diving)
  • Andre De Grasse (track and field/sprinting)
  • Shawn Barber (track and field/pole vaulting)
  • Brooke Henderson (golf)
  • Brianne Theisen-Eaton (track and field - heptathlon)
  • Damien Warner (track and field - decathlon)

Travelling to Rio

If you are lucky enough to be heading to Rio this summer to cheer on your fellow Canadians, you won’t be alone. Hundreds of thousands of people will all be travelling to the same location, at the same time, making travel logistics somewhat of a challenge.

  • Arrival and departure: Try to avoid travelling to Rio a day or two before the Games start or the day after the closing ceremonies. These tend to be the busiest travel days. “Sightseeing in other cities either before, during or after the Games that allows you to fly into or out of Rio can make getting airline tickets easier and may be a bit less expensive,” says Chuck Jones, experienced Olympic traveller, in Forbes.
  • Buying tickets: Buy them now. Make sure you purchase tickets from the official ticket source for the Rio Games.
  • Research the city: When buying tickets for events and planning your trip, make note of the event locations compared to where you're staying. It’s also a good idea to plan to take public transportation to avoid sitting in traffic.
  • Plan for security checks: Security is one of the biggest concerns at Olympic events. Make sure you arrive to all events early, and allow for 30 minutes for clearing security.
  • Accommodations: This is often one of the biggest obstacles. Finding an affordable place to stay in Rio is proving to be a challenge. Consider alternative arrangements through sites like Airbnb and other alternative travel accommodation providers to save money and have more options.
  • Travel documentation: Tourist visas are required to travel to Brazil. However, according to the Government of Canada:

As a special, temporary measure sanctioned by the Government of Brazil on account of the Games, Canadian passport holders will not need a tourist visa to enter Brazil between June 1 and September 18, 2016, for a stay of up to 90 days. This exemption does not apply to other visa categories such as work and study.

Travel insurance for Rio de Janeiro

A final consideration for planning a trip to Rio 2016 is travel insurance. With so many travellers and so much happening in one location, you never know when you may need travel assistance. Learn more about Blue Cross travel insurance options by contacting us or getting a travel insurance quote online. Choose Blue Cross and travel worry-free in Brazil.