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  • On the Scene: IOC Responds Well to Rio 2016 Appeal


    Rio 2016 showed several videos during the news conference that followed the bid's presentation to IOC members. (ATR / Panasonic:Lumix)
    (ATR) Rio de Janeiro struck a chord with IOC members when it displayed a map of the world and highlighted past Olympic host cities. Europe, Asia, North America and Oceania had plenty of dots, but there were none in South America or Africa.

    "When the map came out, it was clear there was a big smile on the membership," Rio secretary general Carlos Roberto Osorio told Around the Rings. "There was a chuckle."

    IOC member Fernando F. Lima Bello of Portugal said Rio, which hopes to become the first city in South America to stage an Olympic Games, was "very convincing" in its presentation Wednesday afternoon.

    He said the map received a "very friendly response."

    "For me, the Games should be in all the cities of the world," Lima Bello said. "If a city has less capacity, but the minimum, let them organize!"

    Rio went third among the four cities, following Chicago and Tokyo and preceding Madrid. The 45-minute presentation to 93 IOC members at the Olympic Museum went beyond the emotional appeal of bringing the Games to a new continent. It also outlined in full the technical aspects of the bid.

    Speakers included Henrique Meirelles, President of Brazil's Central Bank, who talked about the global economic crisis. The bid team also unveiled a new video that showed the master venue plan.

    "It was a very good presentation with a lot of passion and also very informative," said Denis Oswald, an IOC member from Switzerland, "and now we have to think it over."

    Carlos Nuzman, Rio's bid president, had the perspective of seeing the other three bid presentations because he is an IOC member from Brazil.

    "I think all the four cities are in very good shape," he told ATR.

    So how did Rio rank? "I think we are on the way to be the winner," Nuzman said.

    IOC Reaction Draws Optimism

    At a press conference later, Nuzman said that he was "very optimistic" based on "the feeling of the audience, the intensity of the applause and the comments about what all of us did."

    Osorio said some of IOC members were keeping time to the music in one of the videos. It showed athletes and 'cariocas," the term for Rio citizens, singing "Ciudade Marvilhosa," the city's anthem that mayor Eduardo Paes translated as "Rio's a marvelous city."

    Brazilian president
    Sergio Cabral, Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and bid president Carlos Nuzman brief the media. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appeared in a video message to address members of the IOC and "convey to you my total commitment to Rio 2016." He also reiterated Brazil's contention that the three levels of government are integrated and that the "federal government has given all possible guarantees."

    Sergio Cabral, governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, said the bid team talked about safety and security in its 45-minute presentation, but was not asked about those issues in the 45-minute Q & A.

    "We don't have a problem with terrorism," he said.

    Bid leaders also explained to IOC members that hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup - with the final and the
    Brazilian athletes, politicians, and sport officials helped make Rio's pitch. (Rio 2016)
    center likely in Rio -- would help the Olympics, not overshadow it. "A lot of infrastructure put in our (Olympic) proposal is already going to be built," Paes said.

    Osorio said Rio was well prepared. "All questions were answered in the right tone," he said. "There was no dodging of questions."

    Nuzman did decline to give a definitive answer to one query. The Netherlands' Prince Willem Alexander asked every bid city which two sports would be its choice to be added to the program.

    Nuzman said Rio loved all seven of the candidate sports and would like to see the IOC add them all.

    "He received big applause for that," Osorio said.

    IOC member Peter Tallberg of Finland said he was pleased to see Isabel Swan, a bronze medalist in sailing, as a member of Rio's presentation team because he was also an Olympic sailor.

    "These are the kinds of things that we appreciate very much indeed," Tallberg said, "when you see that the athletes are very involved in the process."

    He said the unprecedented gathering in Lausanne was useful for IOC members who no longer make official visits to bid cities.

    "The main thing is you get to know again your friends," Tallberg said, "and you discuss the different proposals and the bids, and you make your own choice on a clearer basis."

    Written by Karen Rosen

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