After successfully hosting the Olympic Games last August, the “marvellous city” is set to host the second Pan-American Masters Games in 2020, as announced by the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) earlier this week.
Building on the legacy of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the organisers of the second Pan-American Masters Games – which are expected to be held in the second half of 2020 and last for 9 to 10 days – intend to use the Olympic venues as much as possible, including the MaracanãStadium for the opening ceremony. This will offer a unique opportunity for Masters athletes to follow in the footsteps of Olympians. The Rio 2016 venues are currently in the process of being converted into their post-Games configurations and will be ideal venues for the Masters athletes, who will also be able to take advantage of the new hotels and tourism infrastructure that was developed ahead of Rio 2016.
“The 2020 Pan-American Masters Games in Rio represent a fantastic opportunity to utilise both the physical infrastructure and social legacy of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” said IMGA CEO Jens Holm. “In fact, this concept was at the heart of the bid from the Rio team. As an organisation, the IMGA is thrilled to facilitate a new major sporting event in Rio, and we are certain that our Masters athletes are going to enjoy travelling and competing in this vibrant and fun city.”
IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said: “We’re delighted that the Pan-American Masters Games in 2020 will be held in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s hosting of a marvellous Olympic Games last year has clearly played a strong role in Rio’s ability to bring this major sporting event to its city. It sees Rio take advantage of the physical legacy of the Games through the venues and tourism infrastructure, but also the human legacy, with the strong management capability that was created for Rio 2016 being made available to help organise another major sporting event in the city.”
With more than 20 sports on the programme, these Games will see beach volleyball take centre stage once again on Copacabana Beach. Barra da Tijuca and the Olympic Park, including the velodrome, will echo with sporting performances and cheers; and cyclists and triathletes will enjoy coastal views with a similar competition route to those during the Games.
As well as the venues, which will be used for the Masters Games, Rio also benefited from the catalyst of the Games to improve access to mass public transport and to open up its city centre once again to the Port Area. While in difficult economic circumstances for the country, pre-Games Rio was able to increase the income of its poorest residents more than those of its richest. Watched by an audience in the billions, the Olympic Games Rio 2016 saw more than 80 countries win medals at the Games and the participation of a Refugee Olympic Team for the first time. With nearly 350,000 hours of broadcast footage produced, the Games put Rio de Janeiro centre stage, and this has undoubtedly helped with Brazil’s record-breaking tourism figures from 2016. This Masters Games event will help to prolong the benefits of hosting the Olympic Games for Rio.
In the lead-up to the Pan-American Masters Games, which will take place in September 2020, a series of test events will be organised by the Brazilian Masters Association, set up by Brazilian Olympian Djan Madruga.
As the organiser of Summer and Winter Masters Games, which respectively gather together around 20,000 and 3,000 athletes over the age of 35, the IMGA is keen to build on the sporting legacy of the Olympic Games and major events to get the wider community active and demonstrate that competitive sport can continue throughout life.
United under the spirit of sport for all and promoting an active society, the IOC and IMGA signed an agreement in November 2016 to strengthen their cooperation in the field of masters sports and continue to explore means to promote and encourage mature athletes from all over the world to practise sport regularly.