Usain Bolt Attempts to Break Record in Rio

Usain Bolt in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

(image courtesy of riotimes.com)

Olympic sprinter from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, will attempt to break his own record on Sunday, March 31st in the 150 meter race during the Male Olympian race at the Mano a Mano event on Copacabana Beach.

Bolt is renowned as potentially the fastest man in the world and currently holds world records in the Olympic 100 meter and 200 meter dashes. He also set a world record in 20019 for the 150 meter race in the UK at 14.35 seconds.

Bolt will be competing against Daniel Bailey from Antigua and Barbuda, Alex Quinonez from Brazil on a special track designed on the beach. The material used for the blue lane track is the same used in the Olympics.

After arriving in Brazil, Bolt also participated in a 150 meter race with 8 local children as part of an initiative of the Social Service Industry, who uses sports in order to provide social inclusion and opportunities for children.

Bolt told reporters that he plans to return to Rio in 2016 for the Olympics, stating “I am definitely going to be here,” he told the Associated Press, “The record is going to be a little bit harder to break because then I will be kind of old. I’ll be 33 but I’ll definitely come and give a good performance, definitely.”

 

Traveling in Rio While Not Speaking Portuguese

We recently provided some recommendations on Portuguese language books to take with you on your trip to Brazil, and while we still always recommend keeping one with you, you won’t necessarily need to use it most of the time in the future, although we recommend you learn and use some of this beautiful language.

Rio has been ranked as a city with ‘low English proficiency’ in a study done by Education First, however they’re working on improving that with upcoming events such as the Olympics and the 2014 World Cup. Rio has also become a popular cruise ship landing point, and is now seeing over a million tourists each year – many of whom don’t speak much Portuguese.

It’s become a priority for Brazilians to overcome the language barrier. A number of programs have been launched in order to promote English language learning. One of them, entitled ‘Hey Taxi!’ was created by a Rio based consulting company called Meritus Partners. it seeks to teach taxi drivers enough English in order to better communicate with passengers. Communicating with taxi drivers can be a bit awkward and frustrating for the drivers and tourists alike. One taxi driver, Idebaldo Cavalcante says “It’s very hard. We manage to capture some words, but it’s hard for both the tourist and us, and it happens very often.” State led projects have also been launched to offer basic English language courses to drivers for free. The State Department of Rio is also offering language courses to taxi drivers and airport employees. Another taxi driver, Francisco Ivan do Carmo says of the initiative, “It’s up to the driver to sign up, but I know drivers who are already taking courses. It’s a course to help us have a notion of the basic phrases. We have to update our skills.”

While a good portion of taxi drivers do not speak English, many of the hotels do and offer special services to non-Portuguese speaking guests. For instance, the Copacabana Palace Hotel has a Guest Relations department that can assist guests with hotel services when they cannot communicate them in Portuguese. The Windsor Atlantica offers similar services for foreign travelers.

Even though there may be language barriers, the friendliness of Brazilians makes communications a bit easier, often being more than willing to work with guests or taxi drivers until communications are figured out. A couple of things that are recommended, besides a handy Portuguese language book, are a map for showing taxi drivers where you are trying to go and a pen and paper for quick illustrations.