Sun, sand and surf offer stunning backdrop to Rio's Olympics

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A dog and its owner are seen on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A man walks on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
People walk into the sea at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
Boys, who are residents of Cantagalo favela, play with surfboards on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A man sunbathes on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
Tourists sunbathe on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
A man (L) looks at a woman running in the early morning on Leme beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A woman walks on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
Women play beach volley on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A man does exercises with a bag filled with sand on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A beach vendor poses with a swimsuit on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
Chairs to be rented to visitors stand on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A couple does exercises in the morning on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A toy tied to a small parachute is seen next to a sunbathing woman on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Tourists rest on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
A woman prays next to people playing volleyball on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A tourist receives a massage on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
People prepare for a swimming course on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
Men perform for visitors on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A chair to be rented to visitors stands on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A man practices on a slackline, on Leme beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 9, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A boy jumps on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A woman controls a ball on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
People play frescobol on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A man sleeps on a goalpost in the morning on Leme beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A man fishes on Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
People visit Diabo beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A man takes pictures of sunset on the rocks of Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
Men work out using cement weights at the end of the day, on Diabo beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
People play "fute-volley", a combination of soccer and volleyball, at nightfall on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
Men sit on surfboards in front of the lights of Vidigal favela with the Dois Irmaos (Two Brothers) peaks in the distance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A couple embraces on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
Boys play with a ball at nightfall on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A solar panel is set up to power WiFi access on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce SEARCH "DOCE BEACH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A man listens music as he poses on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
A man drinks coconut water on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce 
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RIO DE JANEIRO, July 18 (Reuters) - As hundreds of thousands of tourists begin descending on Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics that start Aug. 5, the headlines have focused on the street violence, the Zika virus, the water pollution and the rush to finish venues and transport.

But Rio, known by Brazilians as the "Marvelous City," glistens despite it all.

The beach is a way of life here. It is at once catwalk, sports arena, spa, and marketplace. It slows the city down, offering an escape from the chaotic metropolis of 6 million people.

Here, during the height of summer as temperatures surpass 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), parasols stretch like a floating Technicolor carpet from one end of the beach to the other.

Gisele Bündchen will open the Rio Olympics:

Gisele Bündchen Will Open The Rio de Janeiro Olympics Opening

It is also where most tourists will stay during the Games, with hotels in Copacabana and Ipanema nearly full and thousands more renting apartments through websites like Airbnb.

During the soccer World Cup in 2014, fans from all over the world rendezvoused on Copacabana's promenade, drinking and strutting on the famous wave-like mosaic paving stones. The same party atmosphere is expected for Rio 2016.

One big attraction will be the beach volleyball arena, built on Copacabana's sand with stunning views of the Atlantic. The matches will go late into the night, with the head of the beach volleyball federation saying he expects a party.

Away from the Olympics, Rio's other leisure sports that have not made it into the Games carry on too.

On the beach of Arpoador, squeezed between Copacabana and Ipanema, spotlights allow surfers to ride waves all night in one of the world's best urban surfing spots.

Impossibly sculpted bodies play "futevolei," a game using a beach volleyball net and rules but in which players use their feet and heads, like in soccer, rather than their hands.

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