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  • - Rio de Janiero Wins 2016 Olympics Behind Lula; Chicago Is Last


    By Helder Marinho and Alex Duff

    Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Rio de Janeiro easily won the vote to stage the 2016 Olympics, becoming the first South American city to host the event and placing Brazil among what its president said is the elite of the world’s nations.

    The Brazilian city, which proposed investments of $11.1 billion in preparation for the games, got 66 votes in the final round today, while Madrid received 32 in balloting by the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen. Tokyo and Chicago lost in earlier rounds.

    Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who led the Rio delegation, applied his strategy of promoting ties among Southern Hemisphere countries to back his bid. Lula, 63, visited eight countries since April seeking developing nations’ support. U.S. President Barack Obama made an in-person pitch for Chicago, his adopted hometown, which was the first city eliminated.

    “Today is a day to celebrate because today Brazil was upgraded from a second-class country to a first-class country,” Lula said before breaking down in tears at a press conference. “For the others, it was just another Olympics. Brazil was the only country that really wanted to host this.”

    Brazil’s Bovespa stock index rallied, the only major equity measure in the world to rise today, and the currency rose on speculation the Rio victory will lure investment to the country.

    The Bovespa rose 0.9 percent to 61,013.72 at 2:03 p.m. in Sao Paulo, led by airlines Tam SA and Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA. The real, the best-performing emerging-market currency against the dollar this year, gained 0.4 percent to 1.7788.

    Economy Growth

    The games would help sustain Brazil’s economic growth by injecting $51.1 billion into Latin America’s largest economy through 2027 and add 120,000 jobs annually through 2016, according to studies by a Sao Paulo business school for the Ministry of Sports. Brazil plans $11 billion of investments as host, more than any other of the bidding cities.

    “The IOC felt they owed South America the Games and the passion Rio in speeches expressed was heartfelt,” Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp Ltd., a Chicago-based sports consulting firm, said in a telephone interview.

    Rio, in a metropolitan area with 12 million people, centered its bid on using sports as a catalyst for social integration, celebration and transformation of the city, the region and the country. The city promised “impeccable games” that will improve the city’s infrastructure, security and environment, and generate 50,000 temporary jobs and 15,000 permanent ones.

    World Cup

    The Olympics will come two years after Brazil hosts soccer’s World Cup.

    Rio failed in attempts to host the 2004 and 2012 Olympics, when its bids didn’t have the participation of federal and state governments. This time “there is full alignment of the three levels of government and the bid enjoys the strong leadership and involvement of the national Olympic committee, as well as athletes,” the IOC said in a technical report released Sept. 2.

    “There’s no doubt emotion played a part in it,” said Craig Reedie, an IOC member from the U.K. “In the end, they won handsomely.”

    The news produced parties in Rio, with a samba band playing on Copacabana beach and a police-estimated crowd of more than 30,000 people celebrating.

    Rio was ranked first in pre-vote studies by two Olympics- focused Web sites, and Chicago, second in both those reports, was a 4-5 favorite to win at British bookmaker William Hill, with Rio 13-8.

    Early Exit

    Chicago was eliminated in the first round when it got 18 votes, to Madrid’s 28, Rio’s 26 and Tokyo’s 22. In the second round, Rio got 46 votes, Madrid 29 and Tokyo 20, dropping out.

    “Either it was tactical voting, or a lot of people decided not to vote for Chicago whatever happened,” IOC member Gerhard Heiberg of Norway told the Associated Press. “Nobody knows, but everybody is in a state of shock. Nobody believes it. I’m very sorry about it.”

    The IOC Evaluation Commission highlighted the “strong” public support for the games. In an opinion poll commissioned by the IOC in February, 85 percent of participants in Rio said they supported the city’s bid.

    Rio’s campaign was boosted by the presence in Copenhagen of Lula and Central Bank Governor Henrique Meirelles.

    The Brazilian president has been promoting Rio’s bid since last year, when he traveled to Beijing for the opening of the 2008 Games. After attending the Group of 20 meeting in April in London, he was the only leader of the four bidding countries to tour the Olympic Park for the 2012 Games.

    Billionaire Backer

    Billionaire Eike Batista made the Olympics bid part of his quest to become Brazil’s champion of infrastructure development. His EBX Brasil SA group said it donated 23 million reais ($12.8 million) to Rio’s campaign -- about a quarter of the 102 million reais that Brazil’s Olympic Committee invested in the competition with four other company donors.

    Rio can attract four times the 500,000 tourists that were in the city for the 2007 Pan American Games, said Ruy Cezar Miranda Reis, 63, special secretary for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

    “We believe that, in the worst-case scenario, about 1.2 million people will visit Rio for the games, which is the same we usually have for Carnival and New Year’s Eve,” he said in a telephone interview from Rio on Sept. 25.

    City Prepared

    He said the government is confident the city will be fully prepared.

    “It will be a risk-free event,” he said.

    The IOC report played down security concerns, also citing Carnival and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Rio had 2,069 murders last year, according to the state’s public security secretary. Chicago had 510, according to the annual report on the police department’s Web site.

    The IOC also highlighted concern about the city’s use of cruise ships for housing because of lack of hotel space.

    Rio will stage the games in four zones with different socio-economic characteristics.

    The 90,000-seat Maracana stadium, South America’s biggest, will host the opening and closing ceremonies. The iconic beach of Copacabana will be used for outdoor competitions in temporary venues.

    The Olympic Village, media village and most of the sports venues will be in the Barra zone, in an expanding area of the city. The fourth zone is Deodoro, the area with the highest concentration of young people.

    Transport Plans

    The city plans to connect all four zones with a transportation ring including subway, suburban rail, express buses and Olympic driving lanes on the roads.

    The Brazilian Olympic Committee said the local population will benefit from the infrastructure upgrades.

    The hilly topography and the distance between proposed competition venues were cited as negative points by the IOC’s evaluators. For Brazil’s committee, it’s an opportunity to awe audiences.

    “The competitions will be held in breathtaking scenarios and new technologies will be used to broadcast to the whole world images that will excite and inspire viewers of all ages,” organizers said in the executive summary of the city’s bid.

    The Olympics events will take place in 33 venues: 18 existing, nine to be built permanently and six for temporary use. The Olympic Village, with a capacity of 17,700 beds, will be converted into a residential community after the games.

    As much as 70 percent of the planned investment is committed as part of the federal government’s Accelerated Growth Program, which includes public-private partnerships, and to projects linked to the World Cup, which the Sports Ministry says may involve investment of $10 billion.

    Revenue of $2.82 billion is expected from sale of tickets and sponsorships for the games, set for Aug. 5 to 21, said Marcia Penna Firme, spokeswoman for the Rio Olympics Committee.

    To contact the reporters on this story: Helder Marinho in Sao Paulo at; Alex Duff in Copenhagen at

    Last Updated: October 2, 2009 15:47 EDT