Against a backdrop of economic, political, and social challenges, the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games delivered many inspiring athletic achievements and record-breaking performances that were witnessed and shared by a vast global audience through extensive media coverage and digital engagement. It also was a triumph for Mondo, which successfully completed its 11th consecutive Olympics.
Imperfectly perfect. That’s how the BBC described the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in its video recap. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad faced real-world problems even before the opening ceremonies, including concerns about violence, the Zika virus, and pollution; and new challenges arose along the way — housing issues, the unnatural color of the water at the swimming and diving venue, and a doping scandal involving Russian athletes. But the city managed to showcase its beauty, and the athletes delivered exceptional performances in a number of sports, including athletics.
The 2016 Summer Olympics featured a number of firsts. They were the first Games held in South America, the first to be held in a Portuguese-speaking country, and the first to be held entirely during the host nation’s winter season. The Rio games were also the first since 1968 to be held in Latin America and the first since 2000 to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. Kosovo and South Sudan participated for the first time, as did a Refugee Olympic Team. There were two new sports: golf and rugby sevens.
The Rio 2016 Organizing Committee chose Mondo as the competition surface to “guarantee great performances, safety for athletes, and a memorable event for spectators,” said Agberto Guimarães, executive director of sport and Paralympic integration for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee. To ensure it helped meet this mandate, Mondo’s laboratory developed Mondotrack WS specifically for the Rio games. Mondotrack WS is a newer, faster version of Mondotrack, the competition surface of the London 2012 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The track lived up to expectations with many memorable performances including three new world records: South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk in the men’s 400m; Poland’s Anita Włodarczyk in the hammer throw; and Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana in the women’s 10,000m. In that race, Ayana smashed the previous record by more than 14 seconds, eight national records were broken, and 18 personal bests were set by athletes of 12 different nations. In addition, a new Olympic record was set in the women’s 5,000m, and Olympic records were set or tied in the men’s pole vault 3,000m steeplechase, shot put, and decathlon.
As Official Supplier of all sports equipment for athletics during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Mondo provided the athletic tracks and equipment, including the hurdles; relay batons; high jump and pole vault crossbars and landing areas; discus, hammer, and javelin racks; and more—nearly 1,000 pieces in all. The company also personalized the athletic equipment for the Games using the Rio Olympic colors and logos, along with the Olympics’ interlocking rings symbol, and following competition guidelines for look and feel. Mondo has been Official Supplier of athletic tracks for the past 11 Olympic Games and the competition surface since the 1992 Barcelona Games.
At each major competition where Mondo provides equipment, the company sends a team of highly qualified technicians to ensure that all of its products are in perfect condition. It was the same for Rio 2016. Mondo sent four technicians to be on site during the Olympics and Paralympics to make certain all of the equipment it supplied functioned properly and was in perfect competition condition throughout both Games. Every day, before the start of the morning and afternoon sessions, the technicians installed the equipment and materials needed for that day’s competitions, carefully checking each piece to verify it would perform properly. At the end of each day, the team dismantled the equipment and checked all of the materials again. As a result, there were no major mishaps with the equipment, and the athletes were able to use the best possible equipment for the world’s most important sports competition.
“It is what the Olympic movement is all about. Changing the world for the better,” said Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the unveiling of “A new world,” the slogan for Rio 2016. A focus on environmental protection and sustainability influenced a number of Olympic protocols:
As with the 2016 Olympics, the 2016 Paralympic Games were the first held in a South American city. Canoeing and the paratriathlon were added to the Paralympic program. Tepid sponsor interest and ticket sales prior to the start of the Games resulted in reduction of the Paralympics’ volunteer staff and transportation services, and to some events being relocated. However, as the competition drew near, ticket sales picked up, and on Sept. 14, 2016, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that more than 2 million tickets had been sold—making Rio the second-most attended Paralympic Games behind Beijing in 2008. The Russian doping scandal that arose during the Olympics also affected the Paralympics, as the entire Russian team was banned from the competition. A team of two refugee athletes also participated in Rio. At the closing ceremonies, IPC President Philip Craven praised Brazil’s hospitality and the athletes’ performances, saying people “were in awe at what you could do and forgot about what they believed you could not. You showed to the world that with a positive attitude, the human body, and above all the human heart and mind, knows no limits and absolutely anything is possible." In addition, he announced his intention to bestow the IPC’s highest honor, the Paralympic Order, on the people of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro for their “outstanding support” of the Paralympics.