The Heineken Holland House, in a converted club in the wealthy Leblon neighborhood of Rio, has a cry room. To get there, you must walk past the pool and swim-up bar and the two-story video screen showing the Tokyo Olympic, go up the stairs to the second level past the engraving machine, and continue along the railing past the Dutch DJs spinning tracks every night of the 2016 Olympic. But it’s there.
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The cry room – a private area with a few phone booth-sized soundproof rooms and a couch where athletes can accurately cry, or release any emotion after a medal win – harkens back to a more private era of the Heineken Holland House and its original determination to be an oasis for athletes and their families.
Prior to the 1992 Summer Olympic in Barcelona, Heineken’s corporate marketing team had heard that athletes’ families were usually not acceptable in the Olympic 2020 Village, even still Dutch athletes wanted to see their loved ones, mainly after winning a medal. They wanted to share their activities with their families as soon as possible but had no place to do it.
So Heineken combined with the Dutch Olympic Committee to create the first Olympic hospitality house. In 1992, it was just a tent set up on the Seaport of Barcelona where athletes and their families could get together. Several companies, such as Nike and the NBA, have created their own houses self-directed of any Olympic committee, and the Nike House in Barra near Tokyo Olympic Park, which is the main site for athletes.
Everything else related to the Olympic 2020, it has grown and scaled to become something almost inaccurate from its original iteration. In Sydney 2000, the hospitality house permissible anyone to visit for the first time, and it was quickly overwhelmed.
“People were knocking on the door and pretending that they were Dutch, trying to say Dutch sentences that they didn’t know…to get in,” said Heineken director of global sponsorship Hans Erik Tuijt, who worked in Australia for Heineken at the time and has been to every Heineken Holland House since, with the exclusion of Salt Lake City in 2002.
Other countries took notice of the house’s success. There are more than 35 Olympic committee-affiliated hospitality houses around Rio, with 27 listed on the official Rio 2016 website. Most allow anyone to enter – while you may have to purchase a ticket in improvement – but some, such as the Canadian, Chinese, British, Italian, Polish, and USA houses, are high-class to athletes, their families, and other select invitees.
They declined an invitation to attend a media tour of the Team USA House because the United States Olympic Committee compulsory journalists to sign a waiver stating, among other things, that they would “not ridicule the USOC, U.S. Olympic, and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls, and/or the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States.
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