A Walk Down Boulevard Olympico

One of the talking points before the Rio Olympics, and no doubt it will continue after, was what will the legacy of the games be in Rio de Janeiro?

There are definitely lots of issues arising from this question and I am sure there are locals and people who know Rio better than I do who can offer some great insight into this.

It is also an issue I hope to revisit in the next ten days or so while we are still here in Rio de Janeiro.

However I couldn’t help but feel positive after a last minute decision to visit the port area of the city on Tuesday night.

Two years ago this area of Rio was pretty rundown. I should know as myself and Tom Ellis got lost there one time and were trying very hard get away from there pretty quickly.

A concrete flyover ran through the centre of it creating a dark and dingy area underneath. The surrounding area consisted of shells of a bygone factory era.

But fast forward to 2016 and it is like the place has had one of those miraculous makeovers you see on daytime television.

The area is now one of the designated Olympic Live Sites and I could not believe the transformation. The place was alive with people.

The features which are there to stay (obviously much of the Olympic sponsorship nonsense will go) include a new tramway system which has replaced the now knocked down flyover. A new museum on the port front. A new graffiti mural which is one of the longest in the world. And much more open plan and modernised setting.

This area of Rio has now become a place to stay rather than a place to escape from. The mural especially is fantastic and reflects the colour and vibrancy of the city. Those who live near the area told us they could not believe the change.

It is only a small example, and I know there are lots of negative points to do with the Olympic legacy in Brazil and specifically in Rio. I doubt, for example, that many of those who are without good sanitation and drainage will care about the rejuvenation of an old port area.

But it is important though to find positives and the turnaround of this small area in Rio over the space of two years is quite remarkable.

Hopefully there will be many more transformations to come.

Andy Bloss is one of our English language producers working with Tom Ellis to gather material from around Rio during the Olympics. He was part of the Passion for Sport team during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and, in this blog, he comments on his experiences of his return to Rio.