Rio Olympic stadium closed
due to roof problems


Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, photo by Ministério das Relações Exteriores Brasil

Rio 2016: the Rio de Janeiro stadium that was set to host athletics tournaments during the 2016 Olympics has been closed indefinitely due to structural problems.

The Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, known locally as the Engenhao, will have to undergo roof repairs before it can be declared fit for use.

Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes said he had been told that the structural problems could pose a risk for spectators, depending on the wind speed and temperature.

"On that basis, I immediately decided to close the stadium until we had more details," he told a news conference.

"It's simply not acceptable that a stadium which was inaugurated such a short time ago now has to face this sort of situation."

Designed by architects Carlos Porto and Gilson Santos, the stadium opened late and over budget in 2007 and is currently the city's main football venue while the Maracana Stadium is rebuilt for this year's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.

Rio intends to build only nine permanent sites and six temporary venues for the 2016 Olympics in an attempt to avoid the legacy of 'white elephant' sporting venues suffered by former host cities Athens and Beijing.

Other sports venues we've reported on lately include Zaha Hadid Architects' successful bid to design the new national stadium for Japan and a competition-winning design for a football stadium in Ethiopia with stands built into mounds of earth – see all stadiums.

Photograph is by the Brazilian Foreign Office.

  • Infrastructure is all running late. This issue shows a huge lack of quality control and Brazil is horrendously expensive. It does not bode well for the World Cup and Olympics.

  • sor perdida

    No wonder things are toppling down. With such a corrupt empire, they shouldn’t have been awarded the Olympics in the first place. Let them erase the slums and build decent dwellings for the poor people they have at their disposal, then ask them to parade as a civilised nation. I am talking about the leeches at top, and not the Brazilian people…

  • bonsaiman

    I am Brazilian and I must partially agree with the previous comments. Partially because if this “sports heritage” is crumbling, so are the ones of ALL countries, England is no exception. Just google the subject. But yes, corruption is there for anyone to see, cost of living is ridiculous (in my last trip to London I felt like a millionaire) but regarding slums and the like, I guess all countries suffer from some sort of social problems like this. The periphery of the major cities where the poor and the illegal immigrants live aren’t exactly the most civilized spots I’ve been. Someone threw acid in the face of a friend in the London subway. In a single trip to Paris another friend was assaulted in the subway AND in the Arch of Triumph. This sort of thing may happen anywhere, in some places more than in others. And talking about capitalising on problems, the once infamous, now famous Brazilian slums are making a huge profit from European and American tourists, eager to see the “uncivilised”. Lemons and lemonades, if you like.

    • Holding the World Cup or Olympics means a huge investment in infrastructure. Brazil committed to that when they signed up. Let’s ignore the success of London. But look at South Africa, they built almost all the stadiums for the World Cup from scratch, held a great show (I was there) and will benefit for a long time to come from the success. I’m sad because I wanted to go to the Brazil World Cup – I’m not planning to any more because I’m fairly certain the powers that be will not be able to deliver the sort of experience I had in SA.

  • Durden T

    I’m Brazilian too and I can assure you that the WC or Olympics are going to be massive and great events. But the politicians control the construction to be able to steal more and don’t care at all about the quality of the projects. We have great architects today in our country, but none of them was invited to propose even a simple plan. And I say invited, because no projects ongoing are the result of a competition. Strange, no?