Report about Volunteers for the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio 2016
The first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America took place in Rio de Janeiro in August and September 2016 respectively. The grandiosity of the event required the collaboration of thousands of volunteers from all over the world.
Several TUFS students made a huge contribution by volunteering to provide specialized services despite the distance between countries and the myth of insecurity that haunted the event. The determination and vivacity of the more than twenty TUFS students who participated in this unique experience revealed the spirit of the University at which they study.
As a staff member in the Global Japan Office in Rio de Janeiro, I had the opportunity to closely follow the work of these highly motivated, vibrant and enthusiastic volunteers, who were full of energy during their stay in Rio, remarkable since the first moment I met them at the airport, even after their thirty-hour flight.
The work they developed required high-skilled knowledge, since most of the time they served as interpreters, which implied having a good cultural background and knowledge of interpretation techniques, as well as the mastery of at least one foreign language such as English, Portuguese, Spanish, or Korean, in order to meet the media and athletes’ needs in Japanese.
In addition to the skilled language assistance, the volunteers gave support to other activities required by the organizers in the different locations in the city, where the Olympic Games took place. Moreover, the volunteers were frequently asked to give interviews to some Japanese broadcasting companies. All these commitments often made some of them return to their accommodations late at night.
While the volunteers contributed to the event with their talent and dedication, they had the privilege of being face to face with cutting-edge athletes from around the world. However, their experiences were not limited to the working hours at the Olympic venues: on days off, volunteers could interact with local people in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, enjoy the natural beauties and experience the typical dishes and drinks that the city had to offer. It is worth mentioning that caipirinha was a great success.
I was pleased to testify that the contribution of this great team of TUFS students to the world’s greatest sports event was invaluable. Surely, each one of these volunteers returned home satisfied and proud to have carried out a work of excellence, and took with them a memorable lifetime experience.
Coordinator, Global Japan Office at Rio de Janeiro State University
LEONARDO BRESCIA DE SOUSA HENRIQUES