Brazilians have promoted several meetings and engaged in lots of talks trying to convince the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to vote for the city of Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympics. Among some illustrious Brazilians in charge of this mission were writer Paulo Coelho and soccer hero Pelé.
Very popular in Europe, the author of The Alchemist had lunch with the wives of the IOC members. After the encounter, he revealed that he made a promise in case Rio wins the dispute:
"I made the public promise that, if I am alive at the time and if you have the Games in Rio, I will go to Copacabana Beach to do a headstand, with almost 70 years, to demonstrate the transformation capacity the Games can bring to Rio," Coelho said.
And he assured them: "We are able do dream, but also to deliver," adding:
"The Olympic Games are not only sports. Pierre de Coubertin (the founder of the modern Games) devised them thinking they would be a transforming engine. 'Mens sana in corpore sano', commented the best-seller writer quoting the Latin saying for 'A healthy mind in a healthy body.'
"These Olympic Games in Rio will mean a lot in terms of sport, but also of transformation. This candidacy is the symbol of a whole continent because there were never before Games in South America," he added.
"Each Olympic ring stands for a continent and we have to get our ring. We want to show the world that we work hard, despite the fact that we are dreamers at the same time.Â We can overcome the hardships, we are fighters, hard working people, and finally we are here."
King Pelé had the same task as his writer countryman. He spent the whole day in the Copenhagen's hotel where the IOC members are housed. Throughout the day there was a big demand to talk to him, get his autograph and take pictures at his side.
Brazil's Sport minister, Orlando Silva, believes the strategy is working. and the message that the Olympics are going to impel the Brazilian development and transform Rio de Janeiro was understood. "The talks, the contacts with the international Olympic community increased our optimism and our enthusiasm regarding Rio de Janeiro's victory possibility."
Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva plagiarized president Barack Obama's winning slogan to defend Rio's candidacy during his contacts throughout Copenhagen this Thursday, October 1st.
"Yes, we can! That coming from the mouth of an American is very beautiful, but we never said that because in Brazil we were usedÂ to say that we cannot, that we are poor, as if we were inferior citizens. This time, we want to look at the world and say: "Yes, we can and we are going to hold these Olympics," Lula said.
The statement was made a day after the vice president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, José María Odriozola, said that Rio's candidacy had the worst presentation of all and was just the product of marketing and feelings.
Without naming names, Lula commented that he does not agree with campaigns based on criticism of other cities. "I do not find it ethically correct to talk badly about other cities. I want to talk well about Rio de Janeiro and proudly state that the city is ready," he told reporters.
In defense or Rio's candidacy, the president said that he is going to use Brazil's future as the big argument to make the city a winner, especially the country's economy.Â
"Everybody that keeps an eye on the economy knows that Brazil today is in a more favorable situation than many developed countries (…) Everybody knows the meaning of the pre-salt discovery and what this represents for the possibility of investments to improve the Brazilian infrastructure and, therefore, I can assure you that there is no country in the world today that has so much certainty about its future as Brazil," he went on.
Lula compared the number of new jobs created during the world financial crisis by Brazil and by developed countries. "While some rich countries are still experiencing a situation of very heavy unemployment, last month in Brazil we created 242,000 new formal jobs and we are going to reach 1 million this year, compared to millions of unemployed people in the European world."
The name of the city that is going to host the Olympic Games of 2016 will be announced this Friday, October 2. Rio is one of the finalists together with Tokyo (Japan), Madrid (Spain) and Chicago (United States).