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Rio 2016 and the Sport Participation Legacies

The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions held by physical education professionals of the sport participation legacy associated with the 2016 Olympic Games (Rio 2016). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 professionals who resided in Rio de Janeiro at the time of the study. In general, apart from the tangible legacies, individuals were completely unaware of what is being proposed by the different levels of government and the organising committee to maximise the potential benefits of the event for the local community. According to participants, the local population was never consulted about, or properly informed of, what was involved in staging the event and its planned legacies. The perceptions of post-Games changes in sport participation, using the 2007 Rio de Janeiro Pan-American Games as a point of comparison, ranged from no impact to a short-term increase. The reason for this, according to participants, was the lack of long-term planning and policies to encourage and promote sport participation. In conclusion, in order for benefits of mega events to be leveraged, the different levels of government need to develop long-term actions and policies to encourage sports participation in conjunction with the employment of the infrastructural legacy towards this end.