A high-level Rio 2016 delegation is in London for a five-day fact-finding visit as part of Rio’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The group includes Carlos Nuzman, Rio 2016 President and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and Sergio Cabral, Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro.
The delegation will be visiting Olympic Park in East London to view preparations for the 2012 Games and lunch with LOCOG deputy chairman Sir Keith Mills, who was the chief executive of London 2012’s bid, meet former Sports Minister Richard Caborn, and talk to members of the government’s Olympic Executive.
Cabral said, “we are here to learn from London, a city that has amazing ability to improve and renew itself while maintaining its traditional values that are so famous around the world”.
He said that last year’s successful staging of the Pan American Games and prospective hosting in Brazil of the 2014 FIFA World Cup meant that remarkable progress towards 2016 has already been made. He said, “we have 56 per cent of the venues already in place. We have two permanent venues still to construct, for field hockey and the canoe slalom, and all the rest will be built by 2011. So we will be ready for the Games five years ahead of time which has never been heard of”.
As for security Cabral said, “of course we have problems, we know that. But we are working with the police to make things better. We hosted the Pan American Games where the United States delegation numbered 200, we have two million on the streets on New Year’s Eve and three million for carnival week, all under absolute control”. He added that during the Pan American Games “we put 12,000 police in the city and we had no problems”.
Nuzman also reportedly rejected suggestions that any doubts had been cast on Brazil’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup and that it might cast a shadow over its Olympic bid. He said, “everything is going according to schedule. A project to redevelop the Maracana stadium (where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies would be held) is already underway as is work in our other major cities. We met the president of FIFA in Beijing and they are very happy with the way our work is going”.
Cabral said, “hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016 is an opportunity for the IOC to embrace South America for the very first time in Olympic history. All levels of government in Brazil are firmly united behind this bid and believe in the power of transformation of the Games for a continent and its people”.
He added, “we feel confident that Rio is a strong contender to be selected as host city for the Games and would host spectacular, safe Games”.