Officials prepare to select Olympic course design
Olympic organizers officially have begun the process to select a course design for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
And the winner will earn more than just the prestige and honor of creating the Olympic golf venue – a $300,000 contract awaits the selected design. After participating in a multiphase review, the Olympic architect is scheduled to be announced Dec. 23.
The Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Rio 2016 announced the beginning of the formal design application and review that marks golf’s return to the quadrennial. The sport was last contested in the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis and regained admission following an International Olympic Committee vote in October 2009.
Since then, speculation within the golf community immediately turned to the selection of a tournament site and an architect to create it. Several renowned course designers expressed interest in the project, and some – including Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam, and Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa – announced alliances to bolster their chances of winning the bid.
Even with such notable applicants in the running, Rio officials announced Oct. 17 they have begun a request-for-proposals process, welcoming entries from any experienced course architect who can meet “compliance with Rio 2016 international rules” and “furnish proof of the qualifications necessary to develop the project.”
The course is expected to be built on a 212-acre property at Reserva de Marapendi, in Barra da Tijuca, the district that will hold the greatest number of Olympic venues. The 18-hole layout, which will host the men’s and women’s competitions, will be located between a beach and a major highway – approximately three miles from the Athletes Village.
Applicants will need to meet a variety of criteria, including demonstrating their design “is capable of becoming an international centre of excellence for the sport of golf for professional and community use as a legacy to Rio’s population.” Meeting environmental laws and staging prerequisites, such as test events, before the Games also are mandatory.
A jury formed by representatives of the International Golf Federation, Rio 2016, Rio City Hall and the Rio 2016 Golf Advisory Committee will select the winner.
There are several key deadlines involved in the design review: Oct. 28 – documentation submission by applicants; Nov. 8 – announcement of firms advancing to Phase II; Nov. 17-18 – project briefing for Phase II participants; Nov. 19 - Dec. 16 – preparation and submission of proposals; Dec. 17-23 – jury review; and Dec. 23 – announcement of winner.