In Rio de Janeiro, say Italian photographers Gabriele Galimberti and Edoardo Delille, sport is life and life is not a spectator sport. At least while played, sport is the great equalizer in this city of considerable inequality. “In the same outdoor sports field, you can find all of the social classes,” Delille said in interview to CNN. “It’s people from the poorest favelas playing close to the rich people of Leblon, the richest neighborhood in the city.” Through their lenses, it is possible to take a glimpse of everyday Rio that the Olympics will overshadow.
They took pictures of Brazilian athletes from the sky with a drone. In his novel “The Baron in the Trees” Italo Calvino explains that in order to observe the earth properly we should keep at a certain distance. This has been Gabriele and Edoardo’s mantra while searching for the soul of sport in Rio. “What we discovered is that if sport and physicality are so often elevated to the rank of religion, it made sense to have those officiating looking up to the heavens.”
Despite the problems that have beset Brazil (complex economic and political crises), these images confirm that the Olympics will be hosted by a city that not only love sports but is all surrounded by them. With or without an audience, a podium or medals, these are the spaces the average Brazilian uses and will continue to use after the Olympics 2016.