POSTED: October 2nd 2009

Lula's tears tell their own tale of election triumph

Brazilian President Lula had tears of joy / Image: IOC/Juilliart
Brazilian President Lula had tears of joy / Image: IOC/Juilliart

KEIR RADNEDGE in COPENHAGEN / Sports Features Communications

OCT 02: President Lula of Brazil broke down in tears of emotion and delight as he and his 2016 Olympic Games bid team celebrated Rio de Janeiro’s historic victory at the IOC Congress in Copenhagen.

Rio, bidding to play host after two previous failures, defeated Madrid decisively by 66-32 in the third round of voting after seeing off Chicago in the first round and Tokyo in the second.

Lula said: “Rio has suffered for a long time. It appeared in headlines only for its crime rate. But we wanted Rio to appear in the sports pages and because of good news. So now I want to thank every member of the IOC who gave their votes to Rio because God will bless them for the rest of their lives.”

A number of the post-vote questions to Lula focused on how he had won an election against United States President Barack Obama – who had spoken up for Chicago. But Lula said: “It was not Lula who won and Obama who lost but Rio which won because it presented the best bid.”

He revealed that when the morning’s TV news had shown President Obama flying in on Air Force One, other members of the Rio bid team had given up hope of winning.

Lula said: “Because we were a colonial country, we developed the habit of thinking small; we thought only other countries could achieve things and we couldn’t. But this is not the case.

"When I was at the recent G20 meeting I invited President to come to Copenhagen. He said he wouldn’t go but his wife would. So I said: ‘Well, if you don’t go I’m going to win.’ Then he came anyway but God still wished that we would win.”

Lula concluded: “Today I feel even more pride in being Brazilian than even I had ever felt before.”

Keywords · 2016 Olympic Games · President Lula · Rio de Janeiro · Obama · IOC

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