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Rio 2016: Olympics organize multi-faith accommodations for Athletes

With such a large no of athletes taking part in the event, the Olympic committee is making arrangments for a high requirement on spiritual resources

  • In 2016, more than 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries will participate in Rio Olympics, which is expected to attract millions of visitors around the globe
  • Olympic and Paralympic Village organize a multi-faith center with prayers and Chaplin spaces delineating Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism
  • The center opened on July 24 and its operating hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. till the end of the Paralympic Games in late September

A myth about the Olympics is that it is all about sports but they are actually used as a method to unite the all of the nations of the world together. This international multi-sport is the largest gathering in the world.

This year, in 2016, more than 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries will participate in Rio Olympics, which is expected to attract millions of visitors around the globe. The Rio 2016 committee hopes that over 17,000 athletes participate during its busiest periods. And the officials will be staying in the Olympic village, mentioned huffingtonpost.com.

With such a large no of athletes taking part in the event, the Olympic committee is making arrangments for a high requirement on spiritual resources. To fulfill these requirements, Olympic and Paralympic Village organize a multi-faith center with prayers and Chaplin spaces delineating Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

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“Our job is to provide athletes with a place where they can find comfort and spiritual peace, whatever their religion,” said Father Leandro Lenin Tavares, who is a Rio de Janerio priest and a coordinator at the center. “We are a symbol of peace, brotherhood and the unity of people,” Tavares said in a statement to Huffington Post.

According to huffingtonpost.com, the center opened on July 24, and its operating hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. till the end of the Paralympic Games in late September in 2016. There are separate Prayer spaces for each of the religions which can hold up to 50 people at a time, with separate spaces available for Muslim men and women, who customarily pray separately.

Rio de Janeiro Olympic Park
Rio de Janeiro Olympic Park , Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism are each represented by four Chaplains, whereas four Protestant Chaplain nd four Roman Catholic Chaplains are available to serve the requirements of Christian athletes, as stated in the Rio 2016 website.

According to the Catholic News Service , Catholic leaders will celebrate Eucharist daily, but the center will also conduct worship services for other faiths as well as one-on-one religious support.

Over the last several decades, there has been a constant decrease in Brazil’s Catholic majority. While Pentecostal churches are increasing and evangelicals earning political influence, other faiths, like Buddism , Islam and the Afro-Brazillian traditions of Candomble and Umbanda have also flourished in spite of the malevolence from Christian groups.

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According to Tavares “the five religions represented at the center were selected based on the overall religious makeup of athletes competing, though the selection follows in the tradition of past Olympic games”.

He further added that “center is able to accept people from any religion, including spiritism and Afro-Brazillian religions such s Candomble and Umbanda.”

Athletes come to the multi-faith center not only to pray for success but also to mourn failures and to gain strength to solve any other problems present in their lives at the moment, said Tavares.

Carl Dambman, a Christian Caplin who served at the Sochi Olympics said the Huffington Post: “he had ministered to athletes who have had deaths in their families, experienced injuries and who are grappling with depression.”

Dambman said he had ministered to competitors who have had deaths in their families, experienced injuries and who are grappling with depression.

For many religious competitors, their spiritual demands don’t get put on hold when they’re competing and training.

“We hope to offer this balance between the physical and the spiritual needs. It is really important for the athletes to work on that,” Rabbi Elia Haber, a Jewish chaplain added.

–  prepared by Akanksha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akanksha4117

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