A huge model of the Olympics rings, shipped over from England, was unveiled in Madureira Park in the north of Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday (20 May) night, as part of the government's attempt to integrate the whole city with the Summer Games which will take place next year.

The four-tonne structure, measuring 25x12m, was donated to Rio de Janeiro by the UK after having decorated the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, one of the football host-cities for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"These Olympic rings represent friendship, represent unity, solidarity, and these are the true values of our Olympic movement," president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordinating Committee for the Games, Nawal El Moutawakel said of the five rings which stand for the union of five continents.

"So may these Olympic rings shine here tonight and forever," she added, as Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes translated her words for the crowds.

Paes emphasised the importance of bringing the Olympics to Madureira. It is one of the poorest areas of the city and widely considered the heartland of Rio's samba schools, an important hub for one of the city's most prized cultural traditions.

Madureira Park has become a new focal point for the area. Inaugurated in 2012, the park receives some 200,000 visitors per month, who come to enjoy its bicycle paths, skating circuits, beach volleyball courts, playgrounds, football pitches, bars, outdoor cinema, and samba stage amongst other attractions.

The city government presented the park as an example of how investments in the run up to the Olympics are helping to transform the city, though Paes accepted that there is a long way to go.

The 2016 Olympic Games will officially start on 5 August of next year.