The Olympic flame has been officially lit and the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, better known as the 2016 Summer Olympics, are underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One of the highlights of the games will be the much-anticipated return of golf as an Olympic sport, which was last contested in St. Louis in 1904.
Of the more than 500,000 foreign visitors expected at the Games in Rio, local accommodations also include a temporary, dry camping RV park, which can accommodate more than 700 RVs of all shapes and sizes. The park is located just across Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro’s neighboring town of Niterói. Many Cariocas – Rio locals – joke that the only good thing about Niterói is its view of Rio. Lucky RVers can take in the dramatic sunsets that color the iconic Corcovado Mountain and 125-foot statue of Jesus: Christ the Redeemer.
Like an airplane flight where you pay for nearly everything, so too, is the set up for Rio’s RV park, but the prices are quite reasonable. The charge per person, per night is a mere $7.70 (R$25), while the cost to dry camp your RV each night is roughly $3.70 (R$12). A shower will set you back $3 and a visit to the bathroom is slightly more than a dollar. Payment must be made in full upon arriving and can only be paid in Brazilian Reals.
From the RV Park, getting to the Olympic golf course is easy. There’s a ferry boat not 200 yards from the park that leads across the bay in about 15 minutes, and drops you near the golf course. A shuttle bus gets you to the golf venue. For visiting other venues, there’s an Olympic Card available for purchase and good throughout the Games. This special travel card is accepted for different modes of transport like buses, the underground, and local trains; it is not accepted at ferries, however. Rio city officials have increased security, and are confident that all public transportation options are safe modes for visiting the various Olympic venues.
Golf and The Olympics
Built by Gil Hanse, the Olympic golf course was built at Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca, the district that contains the largest number of Rio 2016 Olympic Games venues. The Athletes’ Village is just a few miles away from the golf course, as is the Main Press Center. The par 71 course measures 7,132 yards or 6,522 meters for the men’s competition. For women, it will be a par 71 at a length of 6,500 yards, or 5,944 meters. Sixty men and 60 women from more than 40 countries will vie for the gold, silver, and bronze medals.
After the 2016 Olympic Games, the course will be used as a public facility with the chief purpose of promoting golf in Brazil and the globe, representing one of the most important Olympic Games legacies for sport development in the country.
About half of the world’s population – or roughly 3.6 billion – are expected to tune in and watch the Games on television. Given this kind of worldwide exposure, golf officials are optimistic that the sport will continue its growth and appeal, especially in countries like Brazil.
Women’s world No. 1 golfer Lydia Ko, from New Zealand, shared her enthusiasm about participating in the Olympics. “Just to be able to compete in the Olympics and play for your country in front of an international stage, I think that will be a dream come true for all the athletes to say, ‘Hey, I’m an Olympian’. If you end up getting a medal that’s great, but to say I’m an Olympian, I think that’s a pretty proud thing to say.”
After a 112-year hiatus, golf in the Olympics will officially return when the men compete Aug. 11-14, followed by the women’s competition Aug. 17-20.
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a golf column, “The RV Golfer,” which is published every month in rvlife.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.