Rio 2016 Gains Momentum

A source close to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told AFP Thursday that Rio de Janeiro’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games is gathering momentum, while Chicago 2016 is losing ground equally fast and alienating many IOC member previous favourable to them, largely due to gaffes by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

AFP reports Tokyo and Madrid still have a chance but have much ground to make up before the IOC vote in Copenhagen October 2.

According to AFP, Rio has made huge advances ever since IOC member Carlos Nuzman made a “passionate and effective” presentation to the European Olympic Committee in Istanbul last November. Aided to a large part by Brazilian president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, they have built on that steadily and, reports AFP, with apparently a vibrant economy and the funds in place they are ready to meet all the requirements of the IOC.

The source said there were other factors in Rio’s favour. “Jacques Rogge leaves office in 2013 and what he really wants to leave is a legacy. He was in charge when Beijing hosted a really successful Games despite universal scepticism beforehand and he pushed through the World Youth Olympics, which many believe will not be a success. What better legacy to leave than seeing South America win the right to host the Games for the first time on your watch”, said the source.

As for the high level of crime and the fact that the 2007 Pan American Games (in Rio) were widely believed by IOC members, who were present, to be chaotic and disorganized, the source said, “they want to talk about crime, well the (football) World Cup is in South Africa next and it is not exactly renowned for its peaceful streets”.

But the source conceded that Tokyo had many things going for it, its compactness, financial guarantees that stood up to inspection, and a genuinely sound infrastructure in place, but there was on drawback. “it is simply too soon after Beijing”.