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  • Rio Public Authority Nears Approval; Heiberg Almost 100% After Heart Attack


    Olympic Public Authority Closer in Rio de Janeiro

    Senate approval in Brasilia is the latest step in the increasingly drawn-out process to create a public authority to oversee the government role in preparing Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games.
    Henrique Meirelles was appointed to lead the body by newly elected Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. (ATR)

    The legislation now heads to the Olympic City where it still needs the consent of the municipal government – and then the signature of President Dilma Rousseff. The government of Rio de Janeiro state has approved the proposal for the APO, as it is called by its acronym in Portuguese.

    The proposal has already been subject to back and forth with the city, so the likelihood is high that it will be approved by Mayor Eduardo Paes and the municipal assembly.

    Even though the APO is still not official, Rousseff has named the highly-respected former Central Bank president Henrique Meirelles to lead the body.

    According to a translation of information posted at the Brazilian government website, the APO will have wide-ranging duties, from overseeing construction (with the power to change contractors if needed) to protecting Rio 2016 intellectual property.

    “The APO will be responsible for developing actions related to the Olympic projects, including the creation of technical studies and programs; monitoring projects; signing contracts and agreements; drafting, maintaining and executing works; acquiring and managing goods, furniture and property; protecting intellectual property and Games-related brands; and even transferring the responsibility of projects to a different consortium if there is a risk of deadlines not being met,” says the description.

    Heiberg Near 100%

    IOC member and Marketing Commission chair Gerhard Heiberg tells Around the Rings he is well on the mend after heart surgery last week after what has been described as a minor heart attack.
    Gerhard Heiberg is Norway’s only IOC member. (ATR)

    “Things are now much better and I am almost one hundred percent back in action!” writes Heiberg in an email.

    The Norwegian businessman was president of the 1994 Lillehammer Games that led to his IOC membership. He also sits on the IOC Executive Board which meets next in London April 5 and 6.

    Fate of British Basketball Up to FIBA

    Team Great Britain is one step closer to fielding basketball teams at the London Games.
    British Basketball and BOA leadership want FIBA to “Say Yes” to host nation qualification spots for Team Great Britain. (Getty Images)

    The British Olympic Association announced Wednesday that both the men’s and women’s squads have its full support in their campaign for host nation qualification spots in 2012.

    “Basketball in Great Britain has made excellent progress since the introduction of the British Federation in 2006, with both the men’s and women’s teams qualifying as group winners for the EuroBasket Championships in 2011,” BOA CEO Andy Hunt said in a statement.

    “They have surpassed expectations and there is no question that they are now capable of producing credible performances at the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

    Basketball is the only team sport on the Olympic program for which its international federation chooses whether to grant an exemption to the host country.

    That decision is expected March 13 when the International Basketball Federation’s central board convenes in Geneva.

    In other sports on the program for London 2012, the host spots are decided by the BOA’s Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel in consultation with the sport’s NGB.

    Medal Design Competition for Innsbruck 2012

    One lucky fan will forge his way into Olympic history by designing the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games medals.

    The IOC opened its call for design submissions Wednesday and will accept them through April 29.
    The IOC will accept design submissions at this website through April 29. (IOC)

    Online public voting from May 4 to June 30 will then narrow the field to a 10-strong shortlist from which an IOC jury will handpick the winner this summer.

    “We are really excited to launch this new competition,” said Gian-Franco Kasper, chairman of the Coordination Commission for Innsbruck 2012.

    “We look forward to engaging with fans and can’t wait to discover the creativity and imagination of young people across the world.”

    A similar competition yielded the medals designs for last summer’s inaugural Youth Olympic Games.

    The first-ever Winter YOG opens Jan. 13 and runs through Jan. 22.

    Design submissions are accepted here.

    New Paralympics Personnel for USOC

    The U.S. Olympic Committee puts Paralympics first with its latest hire.

    As managing director in its Washington D.C. office, Stephen Whisnant will head Paralympic fund development and report to USOC Paralympics chief Charlie Huebner.

    "Developing new resources for the USOC and Paralympic movement is critical for our growth and long-term success, and I believe we've found the right person to help us in that effort," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said Wednesday in a statement.
    Whisnant comes to the USOC from the US Institute for Peace, where he led the $186 million “Building for Peace” campaign.

    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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