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  • Rogge Returns to Rio


    (ATR) IOC leaders are hunkering down with Games organizers and government officials ahead of IOC President Jacques Rogge’s visit to the 2016 Olympics host city, his first since 2007.
    Rio governor Sergio Cabral, IOC Coordination Commission chair Nawal El Moutawakel and Rio 2016 president Carlos Nuzman visited the Pavão-Pavãozinho favela in January. (Rio 2016)

    Rio 2016’s whirlwind blitz to the New Year kicked off Tuesday with a series of planning sessions on the beaches of Copacabana.

    Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral, mayor Eduardo Paes and Brazilian sports minister Orlando Silva are among a who’s who of government leaders to join chief organizer Carlos Arthur Nuzman at the Sofitel Hotel for the day’s briefings.

    Key figures from the IOC’s 18-member Coordination Commission are also in town for a working group visit. Both its executive director Gilbert Felli and its chairperson Nawal El Moutawakel will attend Tuesday’s closed-door meetings.

    Tops on the agenda are the proposed transformations the host city must undergo to stage the Olympics in less than six years’ time, including transportation improvements, additional accommodation and the revitalization of Rio’s old port zone.

    The summit is expected to be a two-day affair, ensuring a busy Wednesday for Games organizers.
    Rogge was last in Rio for the 2007 Pan Am Games. He's pictured here with PASO president Mario Vazquez Rana. (ATR)

    Action will begin early with IOC president Jacques Rogge in town to help lay the Olympic Village’s foundation stone at a 9:30 a.m. ceremony. He will then attend the signing of an agreement between city government and the Institute of Architects of Brazil at the future site of Olympic Park.

    This is Rogge’s first visit since Rio won the 2016 Games in October 2009 – in fact, it’s his first since the PanAmerican Games in July 2007.

    Unlike that occasion, the IOC president will need his hard hat for the bulk of this stay.

    Thursday kicks off with tours of the construction sites for the Grota Funda tunnel and for a fourth subway line in the 2016 host city.

    The delegation will then stop by the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela, a former slum recently reclaimed from drug traffickers by police and renovated by state government.

    Visits to a new Games control center and the port revitalization site are slated for Friday morning.
    Like past host cities, Rio will retire the logo used throughout the bidding process.

    Rogge and his IOC colleagues will then shed the hard hats and instead don white, a Brazilian tradition, for the remainder of New Year’s Eve.

    The climax will come that night when Rio 2016 unveils its new trademark logo. Around the Rings will be on the scene in Copacabana for the 10 p.m. reveal and midnight fireworks extravaganza.

    Check back Wednesday for more on the foundation stone, Thursday for an ATR exclusive with Rogge and Friday night for complete coverage of the logo that will carry Rio through the 2016 Summer Games.

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    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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