POSTED: October 4th 2008

Rio fires up sport and youth

Flying the flag: Sergio Cabral Filho (Governor of Rio de Janeiro),  Carlos Arthur Nuzman (president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee), Luiz Barretto (Minister of Tourism) and children from Rio de Janeiro / Sérgio Huoliver
Flying the flag: Sergio Cabral Filho (Governor of Rio de Janeiro), Carlos Arthur Nuzman (president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee), Luiz Barretto (Minister of Tourism) and children from Rio de Janeiro / Sérgio Huoliver

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

RIO DE JANEIRO: Sport and youth were the themes of the Brazilian 2016 countdown celebrations gathering school children, Olympians, and government leaders.

With one year to go until the 2016 Olympic Summer Games vote on October 2, 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark the Rio 2016 team was busy rallying the Olympic dream.

Events started Wednesday October 1 with a celebration in Brasilia at the Palacio do Planalto with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva honoring the Brazilian Olympians and Paralympians who had competed in Beijing.

In a symbolic gesture Olympians Maurren Maggi (Olympic long jump gold medallist) and Antônio Tenório (Paralympic judo gold medallist) handed over the Rio 2016 flag to President Lula on behalf of the 25 medalists present.

President Lula recalled the moving opening ceremony of the Beijing Games and expressed his wishes for a successful Rio election in 2009.

"It was extraordinary, fantastic - and that is why Brazil deserves to host the Games. We have London 2012 coming up, where we will be able to improve our participation and results and, God willing, Rio de Janeiro in 2016", said Lula.

Other officials present at the ceremony to express their support were Vice-President José Alencar, Minister of Sport Orlando Silva Jr, Rio's bid president Carlos Arthur Nuzman (right) and the president of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, Vital Severino Neto.

Nuzman said: "There is just one year left until the IOC decision, and the Brazilian government once again is demonstrating its support to the Rio 2016 bid. It is unquestionable that Brazilian sport is improving in quality and this celebration recognizes our athletes' efforts. South America deserves to hold the Olympic Games for the first time, and Rio 2016 has much to offer the international Olympic Movement."

On October 2 the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sérgio Cabral Filho, hosted representatives of the Rio 2016 Candidature Commission and Tourism Minister Luiz Barretto, at a commemorative lunch at the Palácio Laranjeiras, his official residence.

Governor Cabral is a supporter of the "Suderj em Forma" wellness project, which encourages young people throughout Rio de Janeiro to participate in sports and he invited a group of pupils.

The project has more than 50,000 participants and the ones attending were from the Maracanã unit.

"The greatest legacy of the Rio 2016 Games will be social transformation, inspired by Olympic values, which will benefit millions of young Brazilians. That's what motivates us," the Governor said.

Nuzman re-elected NOC president

IOC member Nuzman, together with vice-president André Gustavo Richer were both re-elected by the COB assembly on October 2 for another four-year-term taking him through the London 2012 Olympic quadriennium.

Nuzman has been at the leadership of the Brazilian Olympic Committee since 1995 and received the IOC Olympic order in 1993. Over half the medals won at the Games by Brazilian Olympians have been won during his term in office.

"The qualitative improvement of Brazilian sports in recent years is the result, among other reasons, of the work of COB with national federations. We are ready and enthusiastic to work even harder to develop Brazilian sports," said Nuzman after his re-election.

At Beijing 2008 Brazilian Olympians took home a good 15 medals (three gold, four silver and eight bronze) and placed 17th on the overall medals roster.

Keywords · Rio 2016 · President Lula · Maurren Maggi · Antônio Tenório · José Alencar · Minister of Sport Orlando Silva Jr · Carlos Arthur Nuzman · Vital Severino Neto

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