More than 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries will be participating in the XXXI Olympics that kicks off in Rio de Janeiro next month. A curtain-raiser

Words: Tillana Desai

Rio 2016, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, is a major international multi-sport event, which is all set to commence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5 to 21.

More than 10,500 athletes from 206 national Olympic committees, including first time entrants Kosovo and South Sudan, are scheduled to take part. Over 300 sets of medals and 28 Olympic sports await athletes. The events will be conducted at 33 venues in Rio and five at Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília and Manaus. Rio will be the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics.

A gigantic logistic operation is all set to see 30 million individual items which are set to be supplied to be used by two warehouses with a total capacity of more than 1,00,000 square m.
The largest athlete’s village in the history of Olympics is ready to welcome its guests in Rio style.

Athletes and delegations can anticipate gifts, Brazilian juices and snacks, round-the-clock options for entertainment and eating and a warm Brazilian atmosphere in the largest athletes’ village in Barra da Tujuca, in the history of Olympics.

The village consists of 31 brand-new buildings of up to 17 floors each, with a total of 3,604 apartments, stretching 1.5 km long and more than 10,000 athletes. It will also play host to officials from national delegations, doctors, coaches and psychologists.



• 32,000 tennis balls
• 400 footballs
• 8,400 shuttlecocks
• 250 golf carts
• 54 boats

In the athlete’s village:

• 80,000 chairs
• 70,000 tables
• 29,000 mattresses
• 60,000 clothes hangers
• 6,000 television sets
• 10,000 smartphones
• 200 km of security fencing (which is equivalent of surrounding Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the rowing and canoeing venue in southern Rio almost 27 times).

About 18,000 people will call the village their home, during the games, apart from the 13,000 staff and volunteers who will be working on the massive complex.

The complex boasts of typical Rio kiosks selling fruit juices, coconuts, acai and other snacks. It also has a large recreation centre with snooker and tennis tables, musical instruments and video games apart from palm trees and swimming pools.


Sponsors are playing their part too.

  • Technogym has installed a state-of-the-art gym
  • P&G will be managing a beauty salon
  • Samsung will provide each athlete with a free smartphone

Apart from this, the organisers will have to make sure that up to 300 buses run on time and manage a round the clock dining hall which will serve close to 5,000 people.

Mario Cilenti, a veteran of six Olympic and Pan American Games finds this as one of the biggest challenges of his career. “Some countries request to be distant from other countries for cultural reasons. Some countries play a lot of music and make a lot of noise.”

Noise restrictions will be in place at the village during the Games. Cilenti says that the main problems tend to begin during the second week, when some athletes have finished competing while others still have to complete their events. “We try to talk to the heads of delegations to avoid this.”

Security will be very tight at the village and everyone who comes will need to walk through an X – Ray scanner. Even athlete bags will be checked. The first officials will start coming in from July 18, while the first athletes will check in on July 24. The management is confident that a lot of great memories are going to be created at the village and that the athletes will experience hospitality, full Rio style.

India in the Olympics

India first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, with a lone athlete Norman Pritchard, winning two medals – both silver – in athletics.

The nation first sent a team to the Summer Olympic Games in 1920, and has participated in every event since then. India has also competed at several Winter Olympic Games beginning in 1964.

Indian athletes have won 26 medals, all at the Summer Games. For a few years the Indian national field hockey team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning 11 medals in 12 Olympics between 1928 and 1980. The run included 8 gold medals, and six successive gold medals from 1928–1956.

The Indian national team did not compete at the Olympics until the 1920 Games.

Ahead of the 1920 Olympics, Sir Dorab Tata and the then governor of Bombay George Lloyd helped India secure representation at the International Olympic Council that allowed it to participate in the Olympic Games.

India then sent a national team to the 1920 summer Olympic Games, comprising four athletes, two wrestlers, and two managers.


In 1923-24, a provisional All India Olympic Committee was formed, and in February 1924 the All India Olympic Games (that later became the National Games of India) were held; a few sportsmen from these games were selected to represent India at the 1924 Paris Olympics. The Indian team at the Paris Olympics included seven athletes and seven tennis players.

India’s National Olympic Committee, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), was officially established in 1927.

By this time, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) had also been established and it sent a hockey team to the Olympics.

The 2012 Summer Olympics saw an 83-member Indian contingent participating in the games, and set a new best for the country with six medals. Wrestler Sushil Kumar became the first Indian with multiple individual Olympic medals since Norman Pritchard in 1900.

However, while both of Pritchard’s medals were silver, Sushil Kumar had one silver and one bronze.


• 1900: One athlete
• 1920: 6 competitors (four athletes, two wrestlers)
• 1924: 14 competitors (seven athletes, seven tennis players)
• 1928: 21 competitors (seven athletes and a hockey team of 14
• 1932: 30 competitors (four athletes, one swimmer, and a hockey team of 15)
• 1936: 27 competitors (four athletes, three wrestlers, one Burmese weight-lifter, and a hockey team of 19)
• 1948: 79 competitors and a few officials
• 1952: 64 competitors and some officials

List of Medalists from 1900-2012

Medal Name/Team Games Sport Event
Silver Norman Pritchard 1900 Paris Athletics Men’s 200 metres
Silver Norman Pritchard 1900 Paris Athletics Men’s 200 metre hurdles
Gold National team 1928 Amsterdam Field hockey Men’s competition
Gold National team 1932 Los Angeles Field hockey Men’s competition
Gold National team 1936 Berlin Field hockey Men’s competition
Gold National team 1948 London Field hockey Men’s competition
Gold National team 1952 Helsinki Field hockey Men’s competition
Bronze Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav 1952 Helsinki Wrestling Men’s freestyle Bantamweight
Gold National team 1956 Melbourne Field hockey Men’s competition
Silver National team 1960 Rome Field hockey Men’s competition
Gold National team 1964 Tokyo Field hockey Men’s competition
Bronze National team 1968 Mexico City Field hockey Men’s competition
Bronze National team 1972 Munich Field hockey Men’s competition
Gold National team 1980 Moscow Field hockey Men’s competition
Bronze Leander Paes 1996 Atlanta Tennis Men’s singles
Bronze Karnam Malleswari 2000 Sydney Weightlifting Women’s 69 kg
Silver Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore 2004 Athens Shooting Men’s double trap
Gold Abhinav Bindra 2008 Beijing Shooting Men’s 10 m Air Rifle
Bronze Vijender Singh 2008 Beijing Boxing Men’s 75 kg
Bronze Sushil Kumar 2008 Beijing Wrestling Men’s 66 kg Freestyle
Silver Vijay Kumar 2012 London Shooting Men’s 25 Rapid Fire Pistol
Silver Sushil Kumar 2012 London Wrestling Men’s 66 kg Freestyle
Bronze Saina Nehwal 2012 London Badminton Women’s singles
Bronze Mary Kom 2012 London Boxing Women’s flyweight
Bronze Gagan Narang 2012 London Shooting Men’s 10m Air Rifle
Bronze Yogeshwar Dutt 2012 London Wrestling Men’s 60 kg Freestyle