Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach erupted in samba dancing and joy after the Brazilian city won the vote to hold the 2016 Olympic Games.
It’s the first time South America will host the world’s biggest sporting event and many Brazilians hope it will bring change: “I expect everything to improve, more tourists, just a general improvement of the city”. Another Rio resident said: “It was about time. It is a huge emotion, I can’t handle such happiness.” Rio was chosen over Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago. The International Olympic Committee appeared to be persuaded by the argument made by organizers and the Brazilian President that Rio needs the Games to help it overcome some of its social problems. Brazilian president Luiz Ignacio Lula Da Silva said: “Our commitment now is to work and starting now because we have a lot to do. We have the World Cup 2014, and we have the Olympics in 2016. Brazil is lucky because we had been working hard for a while. We are investing billions of dollars in infrastructure.” Rio’s thousand slums, or favelas that are sometimes the site of gun battles between police and gangs, was seen as potential weaknesses for the city’s bid. It also lacks nearly half the necessary stadium capacity and to make considerable investments to improve transportation. Brazilians hope the Games will replace Rio’s reputation for drug-related violence with an image of a city of cheerful beachgoers and soccer fans.