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  • On the Scene -- Rio Sets Postcard View for IOC Visitors


    IOC Commission Chair Nawal El Moutawakel and Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    (ATR) With a vista of Copacabana and the Atlantic Ocean steps away from where they are meeting, the IOC commission for the 2016 Olympics begins its work in Rio de Janeiro.

    The 13-member commission opened its four-day visit to the city Wednesday with briefings from leaders of city, state and federal governments.

    Two athletes were also part of the opening panel from Rio de Janeiro: Beijing sailing bronze medalist Isabel Swan and Paralympic swimmer Daniel Dias, a multiple gold medalist in 2008.

    Brazil’s two IOC members were in place as well. Carlos Nuzman, president of the bid and the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the junior member from Brazil. Seated to his left was Joao Havelange, not just the senior IOC member in Brazil, but the doyen of the IOC, serving since 1963. Havelange, former FIFA president, turns 93 on May 8.

    Today the IOC panel will be briefed on a half-dozen themes from the Rio bid book including vision, legacy and concept, communication, sports and venues, environment and the Olympic Village.

    The briefings take place in a chandeliered ballroom of the Copacabana Palace Hotel. Unlike Tokyo and Chicago, which also used hotel ballrooms, Rio de Janeiro did not build a presentation room inside the larger room, making the space seem open and airy.
    The ballroom holding the IOC commission meetings at the Copacabana Palace. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    Despite the sleek styling of the rooms for Tokyo and Chicago, they now seem claustrophobic by comparison.

    And steps away from the meeting room, an expansive terrace awaits the IOC commission for coffee breaks, with chairs and settees overlooking Copacabana and the Atlantic Ocean, a vista that Rio de Janeiro can uniquely offer among the 2016 bids.

    The commission meets in closed-door sessions Wednesday and Thursday, with
    Brazil's two IOC members: bid president Carlos Nuzman and IOC doyen Joao Havelange. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    a tour of venues scheduled for Friday, May 1, a national holiday that should help lower congestion for the IOC buses.

    Eager to demonstrate the government commitment behind the Rio bid, the second of two press conferences scheduled for day one includes Rio de Janeiro Mayor Edwardo Paes, state Governor Sergio Cabral and the federal minister of sport, Orlando Silva.

    A photo opportunity for the commission meeting opening drew groups of about 15 Wednesday morning, well off the marks set by Tokyo and Chicago media. In both of those cities, so many cameras turned up that they were let in by groups with a minute to take pictures. In Rio, the entire group was let in at once and stayed for about five minutes.

    The IOC commission ends its visit May 2. Next week the group finishes in Madrid.

    Written by Ed Hula.

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