Rio Summer Games

For Leonardo Gryner, the toll of preparing for the Olympics is personal. Since 2001, he's been involved in various roles designed to win Rio, Brazil, the rights to host the Olympic Games. Since 2007, he's been involved in the organizing process behind the largest single sporting event in the world.

As the deputy CEO of the Rio 2016 organizing committee, he's got hands in everything: The financial, commercial, operational and infrastructure processes behind the Summer Olympic Games.

"It's quite challenging," Gryner says. "It requires lots of discipline in how you manage your own life. You have to take care of how you eat, how you exercise, how you organize yourself.

"You have to have a good team. That helps a lot."

Rio Olympics

And that team is about to grow a lot. Right now, the Rio Olympic Games employs about 2,100. Soon, that number will hit 6,000 by the time the Games begin.

That will require a lot of training of staff, but it's a relatively small obstacle compared to some of the challenges Gryner has faced in the past. To achieve such a milestone of bringing an Olympics to Brazil, Gryner and his committee had to facilitate a lot of collaboration between government and non-government entities.

Gryner, who will speak next week at the Sports Industry Networking and Career Conference in Washington, D.C., says his organization was able to manage that considerable process on-time, and within budget, which he described as "a very consuming task."

And the Olympic Committee was lucky there were no delays in preparations. In late 2014, an economic recession hit Brazil and could have jeopardized ongoing preparations. But by that time, more than 95 percent of sponsorship packages had been sold, and the government had already funded 70 percent of its own projects.

2016 Olympics: Athletes To Watch

 

Simone Biles: United States, Gymnastics

At just 18, Biles is already one of the most decorated female gymnasts in U.S. history. Most recently, she claimed the USA Gymnastics 2015 national champion title, beating her USA teammate MyKayla Skinner by 4.467 points -- the largest margin of victory in ...

 

Simone Biles: United States, Gymnastics

... American Cup history. "[She ] is a real good bet to win gold in the all-around and probably some individual events," said Dr. James Millhouse, Ph.D., an Atlanta-based clinical sport psychologist and author of The Parents Manual of Sport Psychology.

 

Aliya Mustafina: Russia, Gymnastics

In addition to also pointing out Biles as a must-watch gymnast, Shannon Miller -- who currently reigns as America's most decorated gymnast -- also recommended keeping an eye on Mustafina. "While there are so many incredible athletes competing, these two will not only ...

 

Aliya Mustafina: Russia, Gymnastics

... have the difficulty and scores to win, but both put on a great show," Miller said. She added, "Among the top five in the mix for the United States women's team are a couple of members of the 2012 (Gold Medal winning) Olympic team, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. Team USA is poised to bring home the gold if they can stay healthy and focused!"

 

Jaheel Hyde: Jamaica, Athletics

The Olympic Organizing Committee even points to Hyde as an up-and-coming, can't-miss track and field athlete. Most recently, he won gold in the 400m hurdles event at the 2014 World Junior Championships and he currently holds the world youth record for the 110m hurdles ...

 

Jaheel Hyde: Jamaica, Athletics

... event. If his performance keeps up this way, surely all eyes will be on Hyde when he takes to the track in Brazil.

 

Fernando Gaviria: Colombia, Track Cycling

This young rider first caught the world's attention when we he defeated former world champion Mark Cavendish in two sprint finishes at the 2015 Tour de San Luis in Argentina. Next, in February, he snagged the omnium title at the 2015 Track Cycling World ...

 

Fernando Gaviria: Colombia, Track Cycling

... Championships. Now, headed for Rio his sights are for sure set on snagging the gold in the multi-race category.

 

Bradley Wiggins: United Kingdom, Track Cycling

In 2012, Wiggins became the first British cyclist ever to win the Tour de France. Already a highly decorated athlete (he has four Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronze), there’s no doubt Wiggins has already left a historic mark on the sport of cycling. But as he returns to the track ...

 

Bradley Wiggins: United Kingdom, Track Cycling

... in Rio, he'll embark on one final chance to claim even more Olympic glory -- if he wins an eighth medal he'll claim the title of most decorated Olympian in British history.

 

Katie Ledecky: United States, Swimming

No one will be surprised to see Ledecky succeed in Rio (she won gold in the 800m freestyle against front-runner Rebecca Adlington in London in 2012). But even still, everyone is excited to see this young distance swimmer show off her swimming stamina and speed on the ...

 

Katie Ledecky: United States, Swimming

... world stage once again. According to the Olympic Organizing Committee, she could compete for as many as seven gold medals in Rio.

 

David Boudia: United States, Diving

When he won the gold in 2012, Boudia became the first U.S. diver to place first at the Olympics since 2000. Recently, he won silver at the 2015 diving World Championships, and with his sight set on snagging another gold medal in Rio, if he wins, he'll be the first American diver ...

 

David Boudia: United States, Diving

... to win gold in back-to-back Summer games since Greg Louganis in 1988.

 

Ki Bo Bae: Republic of Korea, Archery

Already a decorated Olympian (she has two gold medals from the 2012 Games in London) Bo Bae has her heart set on defending her current Olympic title and setting a few new records in Rio. "I compete at the Games for my own glory and my nation's honor," she said. "I want to ...

 

Ki Bo Bae: Republic of Korea, Archery

... make history in Korean archery by becoming the individual and team champion at consecutive Games."

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Had the recession hit two years earlier, it could have been much more of a disaster. Instead, the recession's impact is mostly limited to smaller operational line expenses.

Now, in addition to hiring staff and prepping operations, Gryner says a top priority is polishing the theme and signature of the Olympic Games. He highlighted two priorities he is opening the Games can convey about Rio and Brazil: Transformation and passion, and in particular Rio's transformation into a world-class city.

One of the few unknowns in the preparation for the Games is an ongoing health crisis spreading throughout North and South America: The Zika virus, which has already had a devastating effect in Brazil. Some athletes, including American soccer star Hope Solo, have expressed that they would consider skipping the Olympic Games if the threat of Zika remained.

Rio Summer Olympics

Gryner said the local leadership has launched a multi-pronged response to the virus, including an initiative by the federal government to exterminate mosquito eggs.

From there, Olympics operations will work to maintain that cleanup, so that the risk is mitigated in the months leading up to the Games.

But Gryner also notes that the Summer Games will actually happen during Rio's winter months, when temperatures are more mild. He says that the heavy mosquito season dies down in June, so the risk is expected to be considerably lower by the time athletes travel to Brazil.

"The World Health Organization is saying that it's not a threat, and the International Olympics Committe has said it's not a threat to the Games," Gryner says. "[Authorities] are following very close … the consequences of this and the reach, they are very comfortable that we can keep going on with the Games without posing a threat to anyone."

More: Zika At Olympics? Hope Solo Addresses Issue Of Health Risks