The U.S. Olympic Committee, like most national Olympic committees, establishes a home base during the Games where athletes, coaches, executives, sponsors and other Olympic family members can meet, relax or network. At the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, USA House is located at the edge of Ipanema Beach in an elementary school that the USOC has renovated as a legacy of the Games.
The location at Colegio São Paolo, which normally serves 600 children ages 3–17, has five levels and a rooftop terrace that overlooks the famous stretch of Brazilian beach. “It was designed because of the view,” said Lisa Reliford, the USOC’s director of meetings and events. Improvements that will be left behind include modern amenities in the classrooms such as air conditioning and Wi-Fi access, an upgraded kitchen, patched walls and fresh paint throughout the school.
Several USOC sponsors are activating in the house as well, including BMW, which has a display of a Paralympic wheelchair it has redesigned, Budwiser, Chobani and Citi, which is sponsoring the roof deck. Nike, Ralph Lauren and Oakley also have a strong presence in the gift shop, which for the first time at the Olympics has been opened to the public. (The main part of the house is closed to the general public.)
In addition, LA 2024, which is bidding for the 2024 Summer Games, has an impressive display of its bid that includes a model of the Los Angeles area in front of three side screens that show panoramic views of the city. The model lights up different proposed clusters of events as images of that area display behind it. The bid committee is also giving out sunscreen with its logo, to match its slogan: Follow the Sun.
Another feature at USA House is an enormous photo from the Opening Ceremonies on a wall near the entrance, where athletes have been coming by to sign as they come through. On Monday, bronze medalist Corey Cogdell in shooting came by and signed her name. Elsewhere in the house, golfer Matt Kuchar could be seen taking a tour.