Brazil is putting the disappointment of its performance in the FIFA World Cup behind it and looking ahead to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, with president Dilma Rousseff making the event a top priority.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach met with Rousseff last week, and said that “Brazil and Brazilians can be proud” of the organisation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He said the Olympic Games in Rio would benefit from the “passion and efficiency” of the Brazilian people.
During their meeting at the Palácio do Planalto in Brasilia, Bach and Rousseff discussed the importance of the Olympic Games and the positive social, economic and sporting legacy the Games will deliver.
“I was pleased to hear the confidence President Rousseff has in the Games and what they will deliver, and it was good to hear that the Games and their legacy will be a top priority,” he said
“The IOC will contribute $US1.5 billion to the Games, which will leave a huge sporting, economic and social legacy.”
The two leaders also discussed the sporting legacy that Rio 2016 is set to leave for elite and grassroots athletes alike thanks to the new venues being built and initiatives such as the creation of the Olympic Training Centre (OTC) in Barra, the first of its kind in South America. The centre will be available for young and talented athletes from across the continent and be a home for the development of coaching, athlete education and sports science. In addition, an education programme using sport to convey the Olympic values to schoolchildren is expected to reach millions of young people across the country and is being introduced in more than 500 schools.
Rio 2016 will also launch its volunteer programme next month, aiming to recruit 70,000 Brazilians from across the country.
Other non-sporting legacies that the people of Rio can expect to benefit from for years following the Games include a new metro line and improved rail and bus networks.
Bach, an Olympic champion from the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, started his visit to Brazil on Thursday by addressing Brazilian athletes preparing to compete in Rio 2016 at the headquarters of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) in Rio. He also visited the Olympic Village – which is already nearly 40 per cent complete.
Following his meeting in Brasilia with President Rousseff, the IOC President returned to Rio to meet with Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes and Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro Luiz Fernando Pezão.
The President was joined by IOC Coordination Commission Chair Nawal El Moutawakel, President of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and IOC honorary member Carlos Nuzman, and Rio 2016 CEO Sidney Levy. IOC member in Brazil Bernard Rajzman also joined the visit.