Mimicking American president-elect Barack Obama battle cry during his winning electoral campaign, Rio de Janeiro governor Sérgio Cabral, who is in Istambul trying to get the 2016 Olympic Games to Brazil, told members of the International Olympic Committee:Â "Yes, we can."
Rio is competing with Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo for the right to host those games. For Cabral, who seemed confident of the Brazilian victory, Rio has something very important to offer: the commitment of the federal government to work close to the city of Rio de Janeiro to guarantee the success of the Olympics.
"We are making a commitment here to do our homework. What's still missing in transportation infrastructure and equipments, will be done with joint hands: city hall, federal government and state government together. That's why I say repeating president Obama that "Yes, we can," the governor said, using English for the future president slogan.
The four cities bidding to host the Olympics will present, this Friday, November 21, their cases to the assembly of European Olympic Committees. Chicago's presentation is expected to include a videotape message from Obama, who was until recently a US senator from Illinois. The president-elect lives on Chicago's south side.
Anti-U.S. sentiment worldwide was reflected in Olympic politics with New York defeated in its bid for the 2012 Games.Â But Obama's election has changed the dynamics of this competition.
The US Olympic committee are counting on president Obama attending the IOC meeting in Copenhagen when the host city will be chosen next year on October 2, 2009.Â
According to governor Cabral, among the infrastructure projects that he promised to have ready on time there are the remodeled Tom Jobim International Airport, access roads, subway lines, bus corridors and enough hotel rooms to satisfy the IOC requirements.
"I came here to make it clear to the member of the International Olympic Committee that this is a project involving all levels of the government and that Rio's mayor elect is responsible to make this happen."
"This is an occasion for the IOC to make a historical decision: to change in order to give a chance to the youth of all the continents to host the Olympic Games, said Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee.