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The lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympics saw the creation of several new athletic venues in Rio de Janeiro, in addition to the renovation of several others. These new and renovated arenas also included a huge amount of Olympic-caliber AV, much of which was designed by WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) Brazil. We take an in-depth look at the AV behind the fan experience at these Olympic venues.
By Renato Cipriano
Rio de Janeiro’s seven Olympic Stadiums were distinguished by more than spectacular sports action. The stadiums themselves benefited from world-class speech intelligibility and extraordinary live video feeds. Their public address systems and related audio and video information distribution resources were precisely designed and calibrated to keep fans in the stands fully informed about action in the arenas. These advanced systems did not draw the same level of enthusiastic crowd reaction as the athletes’ performances, but neither did they provoke jeers of frustration with incomprehensible speech intelligibility.
The fans may not have taken the crystal clear audio announcements for granted if they understood how much preparation went into providing for their Olympic-level audio. The stadiums’ acoustics had been in development almost as long as many of the athletes were in training for the games. A global team of technicians, acousticians and architects had worked for years to provide stadium audiences with superb public address and related audio/video quality. We all understood that pristine speech intelligibility was critical not only for information about athlete performance and newly established records, but for critically important crowd control and security purposes.
To meet this Olympic-level challenge, we began coordinating a simultaneous Acoustic Program and Audio/Video System design in 2013. Fortunately, WSDG has extensive experience in multitask collaboration. Our US and European teammates were invaluable assets in providing comprehensive technical, acoustic, aesthetic and technological designs for the Maracanã and Barra Park Olympic stadiums, and for Belo Horizonte’s Mineirão and Independencia arenas.”
Developed as Rio’s primary 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games competition center, Barra Park will continue to serve as the city’s largest legacy sporting venue now that the games are history. With an expanse of 1.18 million square meters, Olympic Park includes nine sports venues. The Olympic Arena and Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre were originally built for the Rio 2007 Pan American Games. The seven new stadiums/sports venues created for the 2016 Games include: The Olympic Tennis Centre, Aquatics Stadium and Rio Olympic Velodrome; plus the COT Arenas, Olympic Hall 1 (basketball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby), Olympic Hall 2 (Olympic and Paralympic judo, plus wrestling and boccia), Olympic Hall 3 (taekwondo, fencing, sitting volleyball) and Olympic Hall 4 (handball and goalball).