Tristan Gilchrist

Consular Team, Rio De Janerio

Guest blogger for Consular Communications

Part of Stay Ahead of the Games

22nd July 2016 London, UK

Gearing up for the Games

Tristan (far left) with the TeamGB Road Cycling Team

It’s beginning to feel very real.

There are only two weeks to go until the start of Rio 2016. Brazil has been in the unusual (unprecedented?) position of hosting the top three sporting events in the world in the space of just two years. That also meant that just as the lights were going out in the Maracanã stadium after the World Cup final in July 2014, the FCO started our planning for the Olympics and Paralympics.

In the consular team, when referring to the World Cup, we have adopted the famous advertising campaign from the London 2012 Paralympics: “thanks for the warm up.” The World Cup is massive (literally in Brazil’s case, having taken place in 12 cities, some further apart than London and Istanbul) but the Olympics and Paralympics are in a different league.

Tristan (far left) with the TeamGB Road Cycling Team
Tristan (far right) with the TeamGB Road Cycling Team

Brazil is very experienced in putting on large events. And the Brazilians do them well. Carnival attracts millions of tourists to Rio but every year the organisation is impressive and there are relatively few incidents. Our consular teams are also very experienced in supporting British nationals here, and they also do it very well.

This week marks the arrival of Team GB to Brazil. Most of the athletes are heading to Belo Horizonte (about an hour’s flight from Rio, virtually a neighbour in Brazilian terms) for their pre-games training. They are taking advantage of some of the best sporting facilities in the country. Members of our consular team are here to support them, offering advice on having a trouble-free stay, and providing assistance where things don’t go to plan.

None of us wants anything to distract the British athletes from performing at their best and beating the medal haul from London 2012.

Our travel advice is not complex but it is effective and applies to everyone: athletes, coaches, spectators and even VIPs. As you’d expect, most of the incidents affecting British nationals in Rio take place around the popular tourist areas, particularly Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach and the nightlife capital Lapa. We’re not telling people to avoid these areas, they are must-sees. But we would advise you to take extra care, especially after dark or off the main streets. And please don’t display valuables: jewellery and electronic gadgets are particular targets. Above all, never try to resist if you become a victim of crime; the rare occasions when tourists get injured are often when they fight back.

As a Brit who, after two and a half years in Rio, feels very proud of my second home, I would say not to believe everything you read. The news before the Opening Ceremony will inevitably be filled with negative stories about Rio; some fair, some not.

Once the sport starts, I’m confident the Marvellous City will live up to its name. The vast majority of fans will have a truly fantastic and memorable experience. But if you need us, we’re here and ready to help.

Please visit for our consular top tips and contact details.