Educational Legacy of the Rio 2016 Games: Lessons for Youth Engagement
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The promise of the Rio 2016 Games was to influence the entire population of Brazil, but the major impact was expected to be on children and the youth. The development of youth education programs promoting Olympic and Paralympic values was one of the main commitments that organizers made in 2009 to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This article draws on the available literature on Olympic and Paralympic education and youth engagement and examines several of such programs previously implemented in such host cities as Beijing, Vancouver, and London. The purpose was to explore the ways in which implementing such educational legacy programs by the Rio 2016 and other sporting mega-event organizers can inspire and sustain youth engagement. The inductive thematic analysis was applied in the close examination of the content, strategies, and outcomes of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic education program. The results suggest that to leave an enduring youth legacy, policymakers, future mega-event organizers, and educators need to understand it as a continued endeavor beyond the hosting period and embed the related educational efforts into broader educational and youth-focused structures. This article also outlines lessons for youth engagement that can be drawn from Rio’s and other host cities’ Olympic and Paralympic education practices.