Archive: Rio secures the 2016 Olympics

The President of the United States Barack Obama, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Real Madrid Captain Raul, the King of “Soccer” Pele, Chat Show Diva Oprah Winfrey, NBA Legend Michael Jordan… No, these are not all guests to the strangest dinner party in the world, but rather, some of the icons that graced Denmark with their presence at the International Olympic Committee’s Decision day in Copenhagen on Friday 2nd October. Hundreds of thousands gathered across the world to hear the verdict as millions of pounds were spent on bringing the event to one of the four metropolises of Tokyo, Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

Tens of thousands in Brazil descended onto Copacabana beach on a humid Friday afternoon, however nervous anticipation soon transformed into pure euphoria and carnival-style celebrations as Brazil were awarded the 2016 Olympic Games. Such festivities put shame to the celebrations in Trafalgar Square, making scenes in London 2005 appear as if a Chess Club’s “social gathering,” where Brazilians partied long into the night in expectancy for the mother of all parties to come in 2016. Soon “Caipirinhas” were flowing against a backdrop of samba beats as Brazilians were left to celebrate their historic achievement and projection onto the world sporting international stage. It had taken over 120 years and 30 events for the modern games to be finally held in South America. With over a week having passed, I’ve had time to weigh up the pros and cons of Brazil’s bid as well as the fallen competitors.

Chicago was odds-on favourites, with Rio, Tokyo and Madrid following, though in spite of this, surprisingly, “Brand Obama” failed to deliver. Further still, what made the shock of Chicago losing out was that it was in the first round. The question thereafter is, did Barack Obama’s powers of persuasion fail him? In reality? No. Having held four previous Olympic Games, it simply was not right for America in her current economic climate to host another, whilst the continent of South America had held none. Despite an army of Chicagoans showing their support, and the world’s most powerful man unconventionally taking time out of a hectic schedule to speak, although capable of hosting a gargantuan Games, the city was not the correct choice. Where previously, personalities had been crucial to a bid’s success, as seen with Putin in 2007 and Blair in 2005, The Americans charms proved unsuccessful.

Therefore, whilst the Obama’s appeal was seen to be the Trump Card, Brazil produced an emotional display, filled with fiery intensity, delivering the message to ‘Live Your Passion.’ Where the Obama’s provided a speech about how important Chicago was to them, Brazilian President Da Silva was able to emotionally invoke exactly what the games in South America would mean to the whole continent and the international community.

The message, “30 Games in Europe, five in Asia, two in Oceania, eight in the United States and none in South America or Africa” therefore resonated amongst the International Olympic Committee.

On decision deadline day on Friday 2nd October there were four competitors.

Tokyo proposed a “green” bid, delivering a compelling vision that would be both technologically efficient and environmentally friendly. They sought to make the 2016 Games the most efficient ever, planting, in their own words, “a tree sea forest” and using various forms of renewable energy across the country. However, to their detriment, with the 2008 Games having been held in Beijing, the Games returning to Asia so soon would’ve been unlikely.

Madrid, similarly, had issues with location and although presenting their own assortment of cultural figures, another games in Europe following on from London 2012 and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi would not have been feasible.

Thus, although they had unsuccessful bids in 1936, 2004 and 2012, Brazil was finally able to effectively demonstrate that she could run a large scale event. Vehement reassurances have been made about the major concerns of security, crime and transportation, however doubts still remain. In Brazil, street violence is commonplace and with ever increasing regional wealth disparity and poor social infrastructure, many believe that the government has its priorities wrong.

However, President Da Silva is confident of Brazil’s capabilities and having held successful Pan-American Games in 2007, as well the 2016 Olympics, Brazil will also host the Military Games in 2011 and FIFA World Cup in 2014.

Consequently, with so many events to come, many ask, what does Rio bring to the Party?

In short, beautiful beaches, famous landmarks and an exciting atmosphere! The city of Rio is a rapidly developing city and the country is experiencing considerable economic growth. Together with the International Olympic Committee’s unspoken aim of taking the Olympics to South America, Brazil was the natural choice.

Looking forward, the task now is to ensure that the nation benefits as much as possible from such an event, as London hopes to in 2012. However, in a city such as Rio with high levels of poverty, sceptics claim that Tourism may potentially decline due to local people avoiding the city due to crowds, high prices and even safety fears. In fact, however, looking at past Olympic Games, Atlanta was the only games that did not make a profit and ended up breaking even. As an example, The Sydney Games saw tourism numbers increase by 10.9% and the country made a 42 Million pound surplus. I therefore personally believe that if planned correctly, millions of people will flock to the City of Rio to take part in what surely will be one of the most exciting Games in decades. Brazil therefore anticipates benefiting from the multiplier effect, as such expecting far-reaching knock-on effects in the economy e.g. increased employment opportunities and sales profits in local regions. Hence, the potential for Brazil is tremendous, and in addition to financial benefits, national prestige and morale may also increase which would only help Brazil in the future.

So now, whilst the last four Olympic Games were held in English speaking countries, they have now arrived in South America. Next up is London and Rio will look to observe the capital’s successes and failures before staging their own event in 2016. Many have been critical of London’s bid, yet with 304 million pounds set aside for Olympic Funding over the next three years, Britons must surely surpass Beijing’s medal haul and deliver a financial surplus following these games. However, as well as achieving in the sporting arena, what the cities of both London and Rio hope is that the Olympic leave a legacy. As well as creating great sporting moments, spear-headed by medal hopefuls such as Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins, many in London believe that the event will help promote the cause of Ethnic Minorities in numerous areas as well as regenerating previously derelict regions. It is also expected that young people will be inspired to get involved in sport over the next 50 years and show to the world that the UK is a welcoming and friendly place. If such goals are met, then London will not only gain in the short term, but rather in the long term and that generation after generation will experience the benefits of London 2012. This explains why nations so eagerly seek to host the Olympics and therefore why both London and Rio hope to put on a monumental Games.

Thus I finish by congratulating Rio on a thoroughly deserved victory and wait in anticipation for London 2012!

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