It was just a test event, but it felt like the real thing. If you were around the Copacabana Beach last week, soaking the hot Winter Sun (around 30 degrees Celsius) and cheering as the athletes raced through the melting streets, you could grasp the energy from the crowd and, for a moment, think that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games were already happening.
With less than 360 days to go, the Endurance test event, part of more than 60 test events that the city will organise from now until the middle of the next year, was a good example of how Rio as a city will behave when hosting the games and all the 11,000 professional athletes from more than 200 countries that comes along with it. This will require a huge logistics operation to meet service and safety expectations of all the guests traveling from around the world.
At this stage of planning you would probably think that everything is almost ready and all of the opportunities for companies looking to work and service Rio 2016 are gone, but after RPMC´s recent visit to the Olympic Park and meeting with the Rio 2016 Procurement Team it is clear that are still plenty of opportunities around.
During the first week of August, RPMC was part of the Global Sports Mission organised by the UKTI (UK Trade and Investment Group) and the British Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, a week of exclusive meetings and visits to make sure UK companies understand how best to do business in Brazil and the available opportunities.
We had the privilege of an exclusive and escorted inspection of all the Olympic Venues, visiting the working site as the first official delegation – exactly one year before the torch is finally lit in Rio.
After completing the health and safety briefing (including the use of the customary hard hats!) we descended down to the Olympic Village, where we were introduced to a beautifully designed Village that already feels alive. A lot of construction is still underway, but most of the facades of the arenas, including the Aquatic Centre, the Velodrome and the new gigantic tennis court are ready.
After the Olympic Park tour along with UKTI we rushed back to centre of Rio (a 50 minute drive without traffic) to meet with the Rio 2016 Local Organizing Committee as well as conduct “1 to 1” meetings with individual departments in order to gain more knowledge on the status of RFP’s for local and international businesses.
As you might imagine, 2015 has been a busy year for the RIO 2016 Procurement Team who has not only been looking for the right products and service providers to deliver the games, but as they like to stress “for the right partners, rather than be just one off suppliers, partners that will bring a legacy element to the negotiation and professional support to the RIO 2016 team in their run for the Olympic Torch”.
Due to the enormous task ahead, there are still plenty of new RFP’s being released such as the recent ones for audio and video, corporate transport or catering services. For companies interested in taking part it is worth checking the official Procurement website on a daily basis where all the information is uploaded (http://portaldesuprimentos.rio2016.com/en/status-of-the-bids/ ), you can also register your company on the Rio 2016 portal by clicking here: http://portaldesuprimentos.rio2016.com/en/registration/ 
A great help on how to register and be ready for the upcoming tenders, is the UKTI team both in London and Rio. Due to the fact that London has hosted the last Olympics, the UKTI and the British Consulate have been heavily involved in preparations, planning and execution of various Olympic projects in Rio de Janeiro, bringing support to many local as well as foreign companies.
If you and your company are interested in taking part in the next Mission we recommend getting in touch with UKTI as there is still one more planned before the games start, probably around January / February 2016, with exact dates still to be confirmed. To read more information about UKTI follow the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-trade-investment 
And if the feeling from the streets and what we’ve seen in the past few weeks in Copacabana and the Lagoon (where the rowing test event was held), is a sample of what it is to come, Rio 2016 will be a truly unforgettable experience.