August 01, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The Olympic city of Rio de Janeiro is picturesque, particularly from the air with stunning views of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain and miles of sandy beaches running from Copacabana to Ipanema and beyond.

Part of the lure in choosing Rio seven years ago for the Olympics was for these stunning views. Television networks from around the world will take advantage of the breathtaking landscape, flying high over Guanabara Bay to record sailing races and other events.

Viewers will love it and the world's sailors are thrilled, being in the middle of the action in an Olympics instead of hidden hundreds of miles away in a small harbor.

AP Rio de Janeiro-based photographer shot many of the venues from a helicopter Monday.

Photo 1 - The famous Christ the Redeemer statue towers high over the city, offering a perfect view of the Maracana Stadium - the venue for the soccer finals and the Olympic ceremonies. You can also see ''The Little Maracana,'' which will host indoor volleyball.

Photo 2 - Rio's Olympic Park, the largest venue cluster for the games. The venue in the lower right will host gymnastics. Above that is the cycling velodrome, followed by the three Carioca arenas, the largest which will host men's basketball and the women's medal round. To the left of the Carioca arenas is the handball venue, which is just below the main swimming venue. Above the velodrome is the main tennis stadium.

Photo 3 - Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 in St. Louis. It will be played on a course carved from a nature reserve, which slowed construction and prompted lawsuits during the building phase. The course is links style, more like Scotland than the U.S. Golfers may deal with strong wind gusts.

Photo 4 - Arpoador Beach is nestled between Copacabana and Ipanema. It's famous for the spectacular views at sunset, often drawing thousands to take in the view over a cool, tropical drink.

Photo 5 - Cariocas - as Rio residents are known - get some sun on Ipanema Beach. The famous beach will be forever tied to the song ''The Girl from Ipanema.'' By the way, the correct pronunciation is different from the most popular English version of the song: ''ee-pah-NAY-mah,'' not ''ee-pah-nee-mah.''

Photo 6 - More sunbathers on Ipanema Beach.

Photo 7 - The beach volleyball venue on Copacabana Beach, which is sure to be one of the hottest tickets and promises lots of late night excitement.

Photo 8 - This photo captures Rio's most famous three images: Christ the Redeemer in the foreground, the huge Guanabara Bay, and Sugar Loaf Mountain rising just to the right of the famous Art Deco statue of Christ.

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