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The Organising Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games today (Friday, August 5) reached the five years to go to the Opening Ceremony milestone recapping the path that led the city to win the election to host the Games, and outlining the positive changes the preparations are already driving forward. Rio 2016 president, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, presented a progress report at the City Palace, Rio de Janeiro, during an event attended by civil society representatives, sport personalities, businesspeople and authorities.
Rio’s city government also gave an update of its Games preparation works and economist Maria Silvia Bastos Marques was sworn in by Mayor Eduardo Paes as the head of the Municipal Olympic Company, the organisation in charge of coordinating all City Hall projects for the Olympic Games.
Other authorities in attendance included Brazil’s House of Representatives speaker, Marco Maia; the head of the Olympic Public Authority (APO, in the Portuguese acronym), Marcio Fortes; and the Rio de Janeiro State’s secretary of Sport and Leisure, Marcia Lins.
Nuzman detailed the 10-year preparation that culminated with Rio’s Games bid victory in October 2009, and also presented the Games vision, mission, values and strategic pillars.
The Rio 2016 president explained the Organising Committee setup and thanked the compliments received by his team from partners such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG). The completion of the Games Foundation Plan and the Olympic Games emblem unveiling, the signing of the first four domestic sponsorship deals and the launch of the Pre-Games Training Camps Registration and Selection Process were some of the other milestones mentioned.
Nuzman also stressed that renovation of sporting venues has started, alluding to the Maracana Stadium and the Sambodromo, and that improvements in security already benefit some 300,000 people in 18 communities. Furthermore, he described the intangible gains arising from the Games: an increased debate on sustainability and accessibility, growing sport participation, the heightened touristic status of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, the rediscovery and recognition of the country’s culture, and the Brazilians’ rising self-esteem.
“Today we already experience the transforming power of the Games. Undoubtedly the choice of Rio to host the 2016 competitions has been turning the eyes of the world towards the city and the country,” Nuzman said. “I would like to reiterate my confidence that we will successfully fulfill our mission and that, in five years’ time, we will deliver excellent Games that will be the evidence of sustainable transformation through sport.”
Coming up next, Municipal Olympic Company executive director, Bernardo Carvalho, presented the progress of infrastructure works currently underway in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Carvalho offered an overview of how works are developing at the Athletes’ Village Park (to be opened this Saturday, August 6), the BRTs (Bus Rapid Transit) Transoeste and Transcarioca, the Port Area, the Jacarepagua lagoons, the urbanisation programme Morar Carioca and the implementation of Experimental Olympic Schools.
In a speech after the presentation Mayor Eduardo Paes highlighted the importance of the Olympic Games in raising cariocas’ (natives of Rio) and Brazilians’ self-esteem.
“The Olympic Games means an opportunity to build a new future for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is time to take a step forward, time to show that cariocas can set targets and meet them. Five years out of the Games, we are one year ahead of schedule.”
As she was sworn in, Maria Silvia Bastos Marques outlined the priorities of her job. In the past the economist has held positions as the Rio de Janeiro city’s Treasury secretary; president of Brazilian steelmaker CSN; Finance and Planning director at BNDES, the national development bank; and, since 2007, president of insurers Icatu.
“We will successfully achieve the transformation plan we have set out for Rio with the ultimate goal of leaving a permanent legacy to the city, transforming its physical structures services. The Olympic Games project is for the city and that is why I believe Rio needs to experience the Games as a whole. And that is what I will be working for.”