ABSTRACT Over the last four decades, Olympic urbanism has been constantly evolving, producing increasingly onerous large-scale urban projects with high visibility impacts on social and environmental issues in each host city. This article aims to reflect on the nature and the limits of the adoption of the concept of sustainability by contemporary Olympic projects and as a consequence understand the environmental dimension of the ongoing Olympic crisis. To this end, we will investigate: [1] the idea of sustainability from urban geography; [2] the congruencies of the Olympic crisis and the environmental crisis; and, finally, the [3] adoption of sustainability at the 2016 Summer Olympics, which took place in the city of Rio de Janeiro.