Rio Olympics 2016: the creative projects inspired by the Games

5 August 2016

Tonight’s opening ceremony for the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, masterminded by City of God director Fernando Meirelles, will mark the start of South America’s first Games and the world’s eyes will certainly be watching.

The creative industries have been quick off the blocks with projects that celebrate the excitement and spirit of the Games, inspired by everything from the athletes’ gruelling training to the iconic Olympic rings. So far we’ve seen Againstallodds’ trailer for the BBC coverage and Counter Editions’ official Team GB prints by the likes of Tracey Emin and David Shrigley. Here’s some more we’ve enjoyed.

Henrique Barone, Rafael Mayani and Conor Whelan: Olympia

This beautifully executed short animation follows five athletes gracefully running, jumping and throwing, seamlessly morphing from one sport to the next and fluidly interacting with the Olympic rings. The trio has also published a mesmerising collection of tests as gifs, showing how the piece came together.


Left: Beatriz Milhazes; Right: Claudio Tozzi

Official Rio posters by 12 Brazilian artists

The official posters for Rio 2016 are a visual feast of colour and pattern, channelling the fervour of Brazilian culture. The artworks are by 12 Brazilian artists: Alexandre Mancini, Antônio Dias, Beatriz Milhazes, Claudio Tozzi, Ana Clara Schindler, Gringo Cardia, Gustavo Greco, Gustavo Piqueira, Guto Lacaz, Juarez Machado, Kobra and Rico Lins; and one Columbian: Olga Amaral.

Just So and Grey: #TeamRefugees: Champions against all odds

This year ten refugees will compete in Rio as part of Team Refugee. This emotive film created by Just So, co-produced by Grey London and hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, tells their incredible story by splicing heart-wrenching footage of the atrocious circumstances they have experienced with excerpts of the athletes in training. Inspiring stuff.

Animade: Olympops

Animade is releasing a series of five animations throughout the Olympics, each themed on a different sport. This first one is a teaser, featuring the Olympic rings as balloons with smiley faces drawn on in felt tip, whizzing off in sequence like festive synchronised swimmers.


JR: Rio sculptures

JR: giant sculptures of athletes in Rio

French artist JR has been installing giant sculptures of athletes in Rio, one diving into the sea and another, which he has named as Sudanese high jumper Mohamed Younes Idriss, arching over a residential tower. Photographs are printed on fabric and stretched over scaffolding to create the artworks.

Saatchi & Saatchi: #Everything Counts

Saatchi & Saatchi has made a series of films for Visa’s #EverythingCounts campaign, featuring the brand’s sponsored athletes for the Olympics. Adam Peaty, Adam Gemili, Claudia Fragapane and Elinor Barker star, shown in training for the biggest moment of their lives, overlaid with energetic flourishes of type and graphic effects.


Google: Beyond the Map in Rio de Janeiro

Google: Beyond the Map in Rio de Janeiro

Google has launched an interactive video map of Rio, taking you through the city with real-life footage. Take a hair-raising ride on a scooter through the city’s narrow lanes, meet locals and soar over the landscape. It’s part documentary, part 360 degree map, and probably the next best thing to actually being there.

Grey: Perfect isn’t Pretty

Grey’s ad for Gillette focuses on the gruelling years of training and the personal lives the athletes have sacrificed for their place at the Games. The shots are cinematic, and the dramatic narrative paired with the Sia soundtrack is fittingly rousing — despite the slightly disparate albeit necessary footage of the athletes shaving…

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.

Jenny is currently on maternity leave.

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