One week after the end of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the Olympic Park opened its doors again to host the Desafio Piraquê Raia Rápida (Piraquê Quick Lane Challenge). The Aquatics Stadium, which consecrated athletes like Michael Phelps and Daniel Dias in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, received today the teams of South Africa, Brazil, the United States and Italy, which competed for the 50m in four styles (butterfly, backstroke, freestyle, and breaststroke) as well as the 4x50m relay medley.
Brazil was the big winner of the competition with 15 points, becoming a three-time champion as it also won the 2014 and 2015 editions. This year South Africa was in second place, with 11 points, followed by the United States, with 7 points, and Italy, 3 points. The Brazilian team won the breaststroke style with João Gomes Jr. and the butterfly with Henrique Martins. It also won the 4x50m medley relay with the aforementioned Gomes and Martins, plus Henrique Rodrigues and Bruno Fratus.
Before professional swimmers hit the pool, amateur athletes, adults and children took part in the Festival Raia Rápida (Quick Lane Festival). Amid cheers, whistles and shouts of encouragement, the enthusiastic Brazilian crowd reminded us why they won over the athletes, the public and the press during the Rio 2016 games. To attend competitions, spectators had to bring two cans of powdered milk that will be donated to Instituto Pro Criança Cardíaca, an institute that treats children with cardiac diseases.
During the Rio 2016 Games, the Aquatics Stadium hosted the swimming, water polo and Paralympic swimming competitions. Before the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the venue had already received national and international athletes in April, during the swimming competitions of the test event Aquece Rio and the Paralympic International Swimming Open.
The Aquatics Stadium of the Rio 2016 Games was built to become a temporary venue. It will be dismantled and its two pools (one for the events and another one for warming up) will be reassembled at Madureira Park and in Campo Grande. After the medals ceremony, swimmer Bruno Fratus talked about the importance of this legacy. “I really made the most of this opportunity to swim in Olympic waters, because I won’t get this feeling for another four years. Both pools will go to deprived areas. This is the greatest legacy that the Aquatics Stadium could leave. It was great in the Rio 2016 Games, but we don’t need another Aquatics Center in the Olympic Park after the Olympics.”
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