By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – After last week’s announcement of Rudolph Giuliani being called in to help “clean up” the Cidade Maravilhosa ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro now enlisted another American to prepare itself for the Olympics.
The Brazilian Olympics Committee (COB) has hired Steve Roush, ex-Chief of Sport Performance of the United States Olympics Committee (USOC) to help plan the on-field campaign of Brazil in both the London-2012 and Rio-2016 Olympic Games.
The American led Team USA in the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 campaigns and it is hoped that he will be able to bring the golden touch to Brazil’s efforts at glory in 2016. COB President Carlos Arthur Nuzman said of the appointment; “Steve’s arrival will bring us a huge contribution to the development of Olympic sports here in Brazil. His experience as head of the American team will certainly be very useful to us”.
Roush has been contracted for just one year, but this is likely to be extended until 2016 if early results are good. The agreement requires that he come to Brazil to consult at least nine times a year, and have video-conferences with the Brazilian team every fifteen days.
“I consider the scenario I found in Rio to be similar to the one I found in USA in 1999,” Roush said, “I believe I can introduce successful models that will be of help here. There are many challenges in front of us, but the Brazilian athletes have wonderful potential, and this stimulates me to begin my work here. I’m amazed by how much the Brazilian people love sports.”
Before working as head of the USOC, Steve was Executive Assistant Director of the USA Swimming Team. “The London-2012 Olympics will be a good time to measure the progress of our work, since Rio-2016 is our main goal. We have enough time to do a good job”, he said.
On Roush’s watch the U.S. won a total of 102 medals in Athens 2004, and 110 in Beijing 2008, the highest total at both Games.
He resigned his position at the USOC shortly after the 2008 Olympics following controversy surrounding the cycling team. Four USA cyclists wore air-filtering masks when they arrived in Beijing, a city notorious for its air pollution. This caused offense to some members of the Chinese Olympics Committee for which Roush demanded that the athletes publicly apologize, and his position in the USOC became difficult to manage as a result.
Steve is now a part of the TSE Consulting company which works for several sporting organizations across the whole world including the International Federations of Athletics, Basketball and Swimming, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), and the organizing committee of World Cup South Africa 2010.