Brazilian president talks Olympics with ABC7

ABC7 one-on-one interview
September 24, 2009 8:26:45 PM PDT
A White House press secretary said on Thursday afternoon "absolutely" there is a chance President Obama will make a "quick trip" to join his wife, Oprah and Mayor Daley in Copenhagen next week. But Mr. Obama's refusal to fully commit is becoming fodder for some friendly jabs from our competitors."I think it's better for President Obama to do something else on his agenda, not go to Copenhagen so I can play alone. It's easier for me to win the game," said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil.

In a one-on-one ABC 7 interview, the President of Brazil says he'll be blunt with International Olympic Committee members.

He will go to Copenhagen armed with a pledge of nearly unlimited government financial support if Rio is the choice in 2016.

"We don't have to ask how much are we going to spend, we have to ask what is the country going to earn from the Olympic Games? I think we're going to earn a lot," said Lula da Silva.

President "Lula" as he's known has become a fixture on the Olympic scene of late, globetrotting to personally lobby the IOC. His message is simple: The Olympics will bring investment and opportunity to a nation that struggles with poverty and crime. A "true" legacy, he says.

"We can't imagine Olympic Games should only be organized in rich countries. We can't imagine the only chance Latin America had for all these years was Mexico in 1968.," said Lula da Silva.

Half a world-away, Tokyo's bid organized a street parade to counter-act the reality that public support for the bid is low.

Madrid's bid team is selling itself as the "safe" choice in 2016.

Seventy seven percent of venues are already complete or are under construction. A new subway line has just been extended to reach the proposed Olympic Stadium.

In Chicago, taxpayers are worried about being on the hook for "any" Olympic cost. In Madrid, government money backs their bid.

"We understand sport is very good for the community life," said Mercedes Coghen, Madrid 2016 CEO.

Be it the President of Brazil or Madrid's bid leader, both ended our interviews with an invitation to Chicagoans in 2016.

"If you want to come, for sure you are invited," Coghen quipped.

Mayor Daley leaves for Copenhagen tomorrow where he'll spend the weekend rehearsing Chicago's presentation.

The majority of Chicago's bid team, dozens of Olympians and several hundred supporters leave Monday on a chartered 747. United Airlines has added Chicago 2016 logos to the jet. The call sign may even be changed to United 2016.


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