By Jaylan Boyle, Contributing Reporter

President Lula addresses a press conference after the announcement, photo by Ricardo Stuckert/PR.
President Lula addresses a press conference after the announcement, photo by Ricardo Stuckert/PR.
RIO DE JANEIRO – As elation gives way to anticipation following Friday’s announcement that Rio is to host the 2016 Olympics, the organizing committee have been told to take a breath, take a moment to congratulate each other and the country as a whole, and subsequently get ready for seven years of frenetic activity.

“They said: ‘Relax!’ But we know that this period of rest will end after the first meeting we will have in Rio de Janeiro, probably in mid-November… Over the next few days, we will meet with representatives of the three levels of government to define our next steps,” said Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Games Organizing Committee.

As those IOC officials involved in Friday’s voting have committed to media comment, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Olympic spirit has received timely resuscitation with Rio’s success: Dogged in recent years by allegations of bribery and scandal, the IOC has set aside monetary considerations and signaled it’s commitment to globalizing the games.

“It is clear that the IOC in it’s choice has not chosen for the big money,” said IOC President Jaque Rogge, adding that had revenue been a prime motive, Chicago would have been a clear winner. He went on to assure that he did not however expect the Rio Olympics to be a loss-making endeavor.

As various conspiracy theorists sought to explain Chicago’s shock first-round exit, Thomas Bach, current IOC Vice-President and the man widely tipped to fill Mr. Rogge’s shoes in the future, sought to clarify the sentiment that led to Rio’s nomination.

“The argument that the Games had never been in South America simply won through,” he said. Mr. Rogge in a further statement seemed to imply that the Rio bid succeeded in part due to a lack of arrogance: “Rio remained humble, they learned a lot,” he said.

There have also been reports that the US President’s appearance may have hindered more than helped Chicago’s cause, and suggestions that the intimidatingly heavy security surrounding Mr. Obama may have unnerved some voting members.

Centred around the iconic Maracanã stadium, which will play host to the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics events, and football, the Olympics will take place in three other main ‘venue clusters’: Lush Deodoro, Barra, and Copacabana.

All these areas will be interlinked by a rejuvenated Rio subway, as well as a system of dedicated thoroughfares, or ‘Olympic lanes’.

Particularly exciting from the point of view of Rio’s long-term development is the complete transformation that is to take place in Barra, which will be home to an estimated 30,000 athletes and support staff.

The new Rua Carioca entertainment boulevard will take athletes´ minds off medals, and as if to give visitors the genuine Rio experience, there will be a private beach exclusively for athletes. The venue cluster in Barra will host nearly 50% of events, many in existing facilities.

A complete interactive presentation of the Rio 2016 master plan can be viewed here.

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