Rio Olympic Stadium
Engenhão Stadium, or Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos (Former João Havelange) its official name, is one of the main Rio Olympic Stadiums, but it’s used for other purposes like concerts or athletics. It’s located in Engenho de Dentro, a neighbourhood in Rio’s north region, thus its name and was designed by the architect Carlos Porto.
The stadium’s first name, João Havelange, was given in honor of the former FIFA and International Olympic Committee member. But it was later changed to Nilton Santos, considered to be one of the greatest defenders in the history of the game.
Costing 392 million reais, six times the original budget, Rio Olympic Stadium was designed by Carlos Porto, a Brazilian Architect and built by Odebrecht S.A, currently involved in a series of corruption schemes and being investigated by the Lava Jato operation.
Engenhão finally opened in June 30th of 2007. Its first match was between Botafogo and Fluminense for the Series A Brazilian Championship, which Botafogo won by 2 – 1, the first goal scored at the stadium being from Fluminense’s player Alex Dias, and Botafogo ended up being awarded the João Havelange trophy for winning the inaugural match.
The first goal to be scored at Engenhão
Olympic Games in Rio
Not only the second biggest stadium for the games, it was also stage for the first 2016 Olympics game, held at Engenhão, the feminine football match between Sweden and South Africa, where Sweden one by 1-0, jump started this incredible world competition.
It was also the main stadium for track and field events, with Usain Bolt himself running through the stadium’s laps.
The stadium itself belongs to the city of Rio de Janeiro, but Botafogo rented it in 2007 until 2027 (20 years). It was Rio’s main stadium while Maracanã was under renovation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
It’s fairly easy to get there. You can of course go by Taxi or take the city’s train at Central do Brasil. Look for the Santa Cruz, Deodoro or Japeri lines, get in the train and leave at Engenho de Dentro station, you’ll be right next to the stadium.