It's 'Brazil's time', says President Lula

According to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's bid for the 2016 Olympics will be the IOC's choice. He argues that "Brazil is the only one of the top ten economies in the world not to have hosted the Olympics."


AFP - Passion, flair, a thriving economy and the symbolic pull of bringing the Games to South America for the first time were the key themes deployed by the Rio 2016 bid team before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) here on Friday.


Brazil president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told the 100 IOC members in a powerful address that Rio de Janeiro was ready.


"I honestly believe it is Brazil's time," Lula insisted.


"Brazil is the only one of the top ten economies in the world not to have hosted the Olympics.


"For us it would be an unparalled opportunity, a boost to the self esteem of Brazilians - the Olympics will consolidate recent achievements and inspire new ones.


"Give us this chance and you won't regret it."


Rio bid president Carlos Nuzman, watched on by football legend Pele, echoed Lula's words, telling the IOC: "Brazil, thanks to President Lula's leadership, is more confident and active than ever on the world stage.


"Today Brazil is uniquely placed to meet needs and to work together for a brighter future - yes Brazil is ready, Rio is ready, ready to host the Games of celebration and transformation."


Nuzman, who was instrumental in getting beach volleyball into the Olympic programme, then pointed to a map depicting the venues of past Olympic Games.


"You see there were 30 Games in Europe, five in Asia, two in Oceania, eight in the United States.


"Now we want to bring the Games to South America for the first time and open the new door to a new continent.


"Together we can embark on the journey that combines and gives hope to all those who inspire to host the Games.


"Rio offers the opportunity for the future - when you push the button (to vote) you have the chance to inspire new generations."


One of the arguments used against giving the Games to Rio was the proximity of the 2014 World Cup but city mayor Eduardo Paes insisted the two were mutually compatible.


"It makes sense to spread the necessary investment and gain priceless experience - we aim to use the World Cup as a springboard for 2016."


Rio, who are hoping it will be third time lucky after failed bid attempts in 2004 and 2012, also enlisted the president of Brazil's central bank to help.


Henrique Meirelles, who may run for political office next year, stressed that Brazil was in a "very favourable economic position".


"Brazil faced the economic crisis and is already getting out of this crisis in a very strong way.


"The world is going to be able to see what is taking place in Brazil - the finances are fully guaranteed and we are in a position to honour that."


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