President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil’s empassioned plea to bring the Games to South America for the first time was the highlight of Rio’s 45 minute final bid presentation. With much emotion and conviction, his high-energy remarks in Portuguese topped an overall inspirational Rio presentation that puts the bid in a good position heading into the vote.
Rio’s presentation focused on their main theme, bringing the Games to South America for the first time. This point was emphasized throughout and the rest of the time was spent alleviating any fears that Rio was not as capable of delivering the Games as the other cities.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s much-anticipated remarks in Chicago’s presentation were compelling, but lacked the energy that Lula portrayed. In contrast, First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks about her childhood, her father, and growing up in Chicago brought much needed emotion into the presentation. Her voice, at times cracking with emotion, proved her comments were genuine.
Chicago’s overall presentation was not at the same level of Rio’s – it lacked a clear central message and lacked excitement.
Newly-elected Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama also made remarks, but not at the same level of Lula and Obama.
Tokyo’s presentation was typical of their efforts in the past. They admittedly had difficulty portraying their energy and passion, but tried to inject humour where possible. They stayed true to their central theme of “Setting the stage for heros”.
Madrid’s most notable speaker was King Juan Carlos, and while he was very supportive of the bid – he didn’t have the charisma of the other leaders. Madrid’s overall presentation was on theme but lacked excitement. The presentation ended with a video that has already been widely distributed at previous meetings.
It seems that Rio’s presentation was the winner of the day – but the real winner of the bid must get a majority vote from IOC members. That decision is just minutes away.
Rob Livingstone is the producer of GamesBids.com and has been closely following the Olympic bid process for 20 years. He will be blogging through the final days before the election on October 2. Rob will bring you first-hand observations from the scene in Copenhagen. Follow him on Twitter.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.