The International Olympic Committee (IOC), in a historic step, chose Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) to host the 2016 Summer Games. After enduring several decades of frustration, Brazil under the leadership of Carlos Arthur Nuzman, one of the world’s best Olympian leaders, won the election in September 2009.These Games will make their first-ever appearance in South America.

This is one of the greatest achievements in Brazilian history. In this century, there are also other achievements: In July 2007 the Pan American Games were held in Rio de Janeiro. At the same year, the Christ the Redeemer Statue was named one of the New Seven Wonders on Earth. But there’s another award: The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil.

A Brazilian Icon

Who is Carlos Nuzman? Behind every great success, there’s a great man or lady. Of course, Brazil has a great gentleman. To be more precise: Carlos Arthur Nuzman, one of the world’s best Olympic czars. Thanks to his talent & genius, Brazil –it is by far the largest country in South America– has been elected host city of the XXXI Olympic Summer Games in 2016. For the first time since 1968, the Summer Olympics will be held in a Latin American nation (the Games of the XIX Olympiad were held in Mexico City). He worked very hard for this for a very long time. For his Olympian background, Nuzman, President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, is one of the favorites to be the next Head of the International Olympic Committee.

Under his Olympian chairmanship, the South American country has one of the most successful Olympian projects in the Third World. The Brazilian Olympic Committee embarked on a massive training program to prepare more physical education teachers, coaches and, of course, athletes (from sprinters, sailors, boxers and shooters to softball players, wrestlers, and divers). What is more, Nuzman supervised the construction of swimming pools, stadiums, and other Olympian venues (Joao Havelange Stadium, Nelson Piquet Coliseum, etc). Since then, he also inaugurated a world-class sports centre to improve the quality of the national trophies. In the past, because there were not world-class sports facilities in the South American nation, the Olympic team, including Djan Madruga (an exceptional swimmer), Joaquin Cruz (Olympic champ in 1984) and Ricardo Prado (who set a new world record of 4:19.78 for the 400 metres individual medley in the early 80s), as well as Esmeralda de Jesus Freitas Garcia Silami and Gustavo Borges, had to train in the States and Europe.

In the years before the site for the 2016 Summer Olympics were announced, Nuzman had other victories: The 2006 South American Games and 2007 Continental Games were held in Brazil, respectively (that’s why a number of venues were built before he made the bid for the 2016 Olympics). At the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Nuzman made clear its intention to bid for the 31st Olympics. In Rio, the national team won 161 medals (54 gold, 40 silver, 67 bronze) and finished third in the medal count, ahead of Canada, Mexico and Argentina. But there’s more: At the Games of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing, Brazil won more gold medals than Cuba, Switzerland, Argentina, Mexico and India.

The Brazilian Journey of Carlos Nuzman

In the latter half of the 20th century, he, “an Olympic perfectionist”, was chairman of the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation, one of the most powerful sports organizations in Latin American. In the late 70s and early 80s, the national team (female & male) had never won a world championship title (or Olympic tournament). On October 15, 1982, the USSR (present-day Russia) destroyed Brazil 3-0 in the finals at the FIVB Men’s World Tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The result was catastrophic: 15-3, 15-4, and 15-5. Despite those setbacks, he maintained his focus on his goal: world titles.

Over the next years, Nuzman, as Brazil’s top volleyball leader, backep up a host of national teams, clubs, coaches, and players. Contrary to most Olympic leaders, he did not accept that a Brazilian volleyball player can play in Europe and Asia. But Nuzman’s reward for his perseverance came in 1987. Without a doubt, he made the world headlines when the Brazilian women’s volleyball team won the 1987 FIVB Junior World Cup in Seoul, whose victory put an end to Korea’s attempt to become the first squad to win three world championships. All his life, he dreamed about winning it. For more than ten years, Nuzman, a former volleyball player, worked daily for several hours at a stretch. From then onwards, there were a host of international awards, including an Olympic gold medal (1992). During his leadership, Brazil also hosted dozens of international championships.

Brazil is home to a number of well-known individuals: Edson Arantes do Nascimento (the so-called “Pele”/ soccer), Oscar Niemeyer (architect), Gisele Bundchen (a top supermodel), and Carlos Jobim (composer of “The Girl of Ipanema”), but Carlos Nuzman is perhaps the most popular Brazilian in this century because he has put the sports on top of the national agenda in Brazil, an Olympic-obsessed Latin American nation.

Alejandro Guevara Onofre : He is a freelance writer. Alejandro is of Italian, African and Peruvian ancestry. He has published more than seventy-five research paper in English, and more than twenty in Spanish, concerning the world issues, Olympic sports, countries, and tourism. His next essay is called “The Dictator and Alicia Alonso”. He is an expert on foreign affairs. Alejandro is the first author who has published a world-book encyclopedia in Latin America.

He admires Frida Kahlo (Mexican painter), Jose Gamarra (former president of the Bolivian Olympic Committee ,1970- 1982), Hillary Clinton (ex-First Lady of the USA), and Jimmy Carter (former President of the USA). Alejandro said: “The person who I admire the most is Jose Gamarra. He devoted his professional and personal life to sport. Jose played an important role in the promotion of Olympism in Bolivia -it is one of the Third World’s poorest countries- and Latin America. His biography is interesting”. The sportspeople he most admire is Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman. “This African-American sportswoman is my idol… “