An Insider's Take on Rio de Janeiro
The world has been closely watching the city of Rio de Janeiro since the opening ceremonies for the 31st Olympiad on August 5th. From the famous Copacabana Beach to the panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro offered by the Time Trial and Road Cycling events, the Rio scenery and culture has been just as impressive as the sporting events themselves.
With the Olympic triathlon event just around the corner, we asked sponsored triathlete and Rio de Janeiro native, Silvia Ribeiro, a few questions about her hometown.
What was it like growing up in Rio?
Rio is a very fun and vibrating town. The people are what make the city so special, as the “Cariocas” (the Brazilian nickname given to those born in Rio) are very welcoming and are always ready to celebrate!
What is it like training in Rio de Janeiro?
Training in Rio is a bit of challenge, especially when it comes to cycling because it’s a super busy city and the streets aren’t very wide. (Fun fact: Rio is the second-most populous metro area in Brazil, and the sixth-most populous in all of the Americas, North and South.)
However, the ability to ride has improved a lot in the last few years, and with a bit of patience it’s very likely that you will get some of the most amazing views of your life!
What does it mean to you as a Brazilian to have the Olympics in your native city?
The Olympics will help Rio establish itself as a major tourist and sports destination. I believe this impact will be a great legacy of the Games. The city infrastructure received a lot of investment, and along with all the new sports venues the people of Rio will be left with a much better city after the Games.
I’m really excited that the Olympics are being held in South America for the first time! It’s such a vibrant and rich continent that deserved this chance to show the World that we can be great hosts!
Who’s your favorite Olympian competing in the 2016 Games? Why?
There are so many amazing athletes that I look up to, but as a triathlete I will stick with two ladies that really inspire me: Gwen Jorgensen (USA), who’s having a stellar season and is the favorite here in Rio; and Pamela Oliveira (BRA), a great inspiration and a true hard worker!
Also, the legend, Michael Phelps, and the Brazilian Volleyball Team as I’m a former pro volleyball player.
As a born and raised local, what would you recommend to someone visiting Rio de Janeiro?
Besides the classic tourist spots that anyone can pretty much find on TripAdvisor, I would definitely recommend anyone traveling to Rio to give Acai juice a try at BB Lanches in Leblon (their other juices and sandwiches are also top notch). I would also highly recommend riding or running up the Floresta de Tijuca (you’re actually riding/running inside a tropical forest!), and enjoying some of the road cycling course you saw in the first few days of the Olympics.
Oh, and don’t miss the sunset at the Pedra do Arpoador, any sunset there is one to remember – guaranteed!
Silvia riding Floresta da Tijuca at Vista Chinesa, part of the Rio Olympics road cycling course.
Silvia Ribeiro started her athletic career in swimming when she was just 5 years old. After trying gymnastics and ballet, she started playing volleyball in Sao Paulo. She played professionally for EC Pinheiros from 1994 to 2000.
Silvia started her career as a model during her college years in Sao Paulo. Her career took her all over the world and she turned to sport to help balance the requirements of the fashion industry and travel, which lead her ultimately to triathlon. Since then she’s earned two top 15 finishes at Ironman 70.3 Miami.