History will be made in 2016 when Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosts the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, marking the first time that a South American country will welcome the world to an Olympic Games. It is also just the third time that the Games will be held in the southern hemisphere, following Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000.
The Games will officially open on August 5, continuing through August 21.
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, will host the FIFA World Cup, which the country last played host to in 1950.
Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America, covering more than 8.5 million km sq with approximately 201 million people. The country ranks fifth in the world in both area and population. With nearly 12 million residents, Rio is Brazil’s second-largest city behind Sao Paulo’s approximately 20 million. Native inhabitants of Rio are known as Cariocas.
The official and most widely spoken language in Brazil is Portuguese. The country gained its independence in 1822 after more than three centuries of colonial rule. Civilian ruled since 1985, today Brazil is South America’s leading economic power.
Rio is considered to be Brazil’s intellectual and cultural hub. Located in the state of the same name on a southeastern strip of the Atlantic coast, Rio is the most visited metropolis in the southern hemisphere.
Rio runs on Brasilia Time, which like Atlantic Time is one hour ahead of Eastern Time.