Officials say 2014 WCup may aid Rio's Olympic bid

Updated: April 29, 2009, 4:44 PM ET
Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazilian officials believe the 2014 World Cup and Rio's vast experience in hosting international events such as Carnival will boost the city's bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Officials are trying to make their case to an International Olympic Committee inspection team in the city this week.

"The 2014 World Cup is an important part of Rio de Janeiro's bid," Rio de Janeiro state governor Sergio Cabral told the IOC members on Wednesday. "The improvements in accommodation, security and transportation will be useful for both events."

Officials said Rio's know-how with events like Carnival and the New Year's Eve celebration at Copacabana beach, which attracts millions of people, underlines the city's ability to host the Olympics.

"We know how to conduct extremely complex operations which involve millions of people," said Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, adding that the city also successfully organized the Pan American Games in 2007 and the Olympic Torch Relay in 2004.

Brazilian officials also noted the country's stable economy, which has been praised worldwide for performing well despite the crisis.

"It's an environment which favors investments," sports minister Orlando Silva said.

Rio's bid committee has been claiming its $14.4 billion plan and the city's beauty would provide an unrivaled stage for the event. Officials also argue the Olympics should be held in South America for the first time.

The 13-member IOC team arrived in Rio on Monday after visiting Tokyo and Chicago. It will tour Madrid later.

The members are undergoing meetings on Wednesday and are expected to meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday. The commission will tour the city's sports facilities and tourist sites on Friday.

"In no other place in the world you will find a people so receptive, who really love to interact with people from all over the world," Cabral said.

The IOC will select the host city in Copenhagen on Oct. 2.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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