Rio, Brazil, Among 4 Finalists to Host 2016 Olympics

Rio's Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Rio de Janeiro in Southeast of Brazil, known worldwide as Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) is one of four cities competing in the final phase of the selection process for the place that will host the 2016 Olympic Games.

This is the first time that a Brazilian city ranks among the finalists, which were announced June 4 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in Athens, Greece. Rio is going to compete against Chicago (United States), Tokyo (Japan) and Madrid (Spain). The final announcement should be made on October 2nd, 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Rio de Janeiro is running up for the fourth time. The other three attempts occurred during preparations for the 1936, 2004, and 2012 Olympics. In none of them, though, had the capital of the state of Rio gone past the first phase.

The governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Sérgio Cabral, the city mayor, César Maia, the president at the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), Carlos Arthur Nuzman, and the Brazilian minister of Sports, Orlando Silva, participated in the ceremony. Cabral talked about the benefits that the Olympics may bring.

"Hosting the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will allow for us to multiply the achievements we had in the Pan-American Games. First off, it will be a huge promotion opportunity for Brazil, where the tourism industry is growing. The Olympic dream of 2016 will allow us to advertise Brazil to the world, our tourist destinations, natural beauties, cultural traditions, and to prove our competence to the world. We are a modern country, with democracy, economic growth, large companies, and all of that can be promoted, should the city of Rio de Janeiro come to host the Olympics," the Rio governor said.

The minister of Sports claimed that the Pan-American Games provided Rio de Janeiro with premises of near-Olympic standards. Therefore, a significant share of investment in premises was already made. According to him, the city would gain infrastructure, above all, with a better public transport system and improvement in services such as healthcare and safety.

"The Rio Olympics will prompt important changes in the city, strengthen sports within the national agenda and mobilize the youth. Thus, the Olympics are a good thing, as they modernize infrastructure, improve services, motivate Brazil to get moving and provide a great means for promoting the country, our competence and tradition," asserted Silva.

Seven cities were competing for a spot in the final selection phase for hosting the 2016 Olympics. In the latest cut, Doha (Qatar), Prague (Czech Republic) and Baku (Azerbaijan) were eliminated from the competition.

ABr

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