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Public Money Invested in the Olympics Benefited Rio, Says Nuzman, President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee

08/04/2017 - 10h29

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SÉRGIO RANGEL
FROM RIO

Rio de Janeiro-born Carlos Arthur Nuzman, 75, faced a rare challenge in the last decade. He planned, organized and held the Olympics in Rio.

This coming Saturday, August 5, will mark the one-year anniversary of the opening ceremonies of the first edition of the Olympic Games in South America. The event cost approximately R$ 42 billion (US$ 13.4 billion). Most of the money went to the construction of arenas and to urban mobility projects.

President of the organization committee, Mr. Nuzman spent roughly US$ 2.8 billion (R$ 8.7 billion) solely on the event's operations and is now dealing with a debt of R$ 130 million (US$ 40.6 million) owed by the committee.

In an interview with Folha at the COB (Brazilian Olympic Committee) headquarters, run by Mr. Nuzman for more than two decades, he defended the legacy of the Olympics, stating it is "extraordinary."

He also stated he would not change the project and told he does not feel guilty for having organized the event amid such a serious financial crisis.

"Quite the contrary. The public money invested was allocated for the benefit of the city," said Mr. Nuzman.

Executives and politicians investigated and arrested by Lava Jato (Car Wash) operation were involved in the organization of the Olympics.

Despite that, Mr. Nuzman says "thank God" he has never received a bribe offer related to the Olympics' contracts and denies that Rio had been chosen to host the games due to a vote-buying scheme.

Would I do anything differently? "My conscience is absolutely clear. I would do it all over again, exactly the same way."

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

Read the article in the original language

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee Carlos Arthur Nuzman speaks during opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee Carlos Arthur Nuzman speaks during opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

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