The 13-members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission received a warm welcome from the Rio 2016 bid committee Wednesday before the first presentation at the inaugural session of the IOC’s inspection visit. Attending the session were Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of Rio 2016, Orlando Silva, Minister of Sport, Jose Havelange, IOC member and honorary president of FIFA, Governor Sergio Cabral and Mayor Eduardo Paes.
Havelange, who is 92, was the first to address the members of the commission. He said, “at my age, unfortunately, I no longer have ambitions in sport. But I do have one wish, which is to offer Brazil and South America the organization of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”.
Nuzman said, “Rio de Janeiro and Brazil have been preparing for this week for many, many years. We have hosted more than 600 International competitions over the last decade and we have prepared, listened and learned. Every Olympic and Paralympic athlete will remember, for the most of their lives, the general passion of Rio de Janeiro; the passion for sport, the passion for the Olympic Games, the passion for life. We, in Rio de Janeiro, are ready to change our history”.
Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva stressed the “total” commitment of the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with Rio’s Olympic plans.
He reportedly said, “we have a stable economy and a favourable atmosphere for investment. We are convinced of our ability, and our country has its arms open to host the world and the Olympic family in 2016”.
Sergio Cabral, Governor of Rio de Janeiro said, “the 2014 World Cup is an important part of Rio de Janeiro’s bid. The improvements in accommodation, security and transportation will be useful for both events”.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said, “we know how to conduct extremely complex operations which involve millions of people”.
Wednesday Brazilian officials focussed on convincing IOC representatives that Rio’s bid is realistic and viable, despite its estimated cost of $11.6 billion. The Associated Press reports the country’s stable economy has been praised worldwide for performing well despite the economic crisis.
Sports Minister Orlando Silva said, “it’s an environment which favours investments”.
Rio 2016 officials say the Olympics should be held in South America for the first time.