Olympics 2012: Brazil setting ‘realistic goals’ for London Games
SAO PAULO: The Brazilian Olympic Committee said Wednesday it has set “realistic goals” for London after giving athletes unprecedented opportunities to prepare, though it aims to at least double the number of medals when hosting the 2016 Rio Games. The committee said it is hoping to match the 15 medals achieved at Beijing in 2008. The goal for 2016 is to finish in the top 10 in the medal count. Part of the goals set for this year include the preparation of athletes for 2016. The committee said 16 young athletes with potential to participate in the Rio Olympics will be invited to be with the Brazilian delegation in London even though they will not compete this year.
Committee president Carlos Nuzman said Brazilian athletes have never been so well prepared for the Olympics as for London, thanks in part to the financial benefits that came with winning the bid to host the 2016 Games. “We are always looking to improve, to change, to do what the top countries do,” Nuzman said at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro. “This is the Olympics in which the committee worked with the greatest intensity to give the athletes everything they need to think only about training, resting and competing.” Brazil wants to have 250 athletes participating in the London Games, hoping they will reach more finals than the 41 achieved in Beijing. Currently, 165 Brazilian athletes have qualified for the games. Brazil won three gold, four silver and eight bronze medals in 2008.
“We are working with very realistic goals based on studies on the results of the Brazilian athletes in this Olympic cycle,” said Marcus Vinicius Freire, the committee’s sports superintendent. After Rio was picked to host the 2016 Games, financing for sports increased significantly in Brazil to try to prepare athletes and the country for the first ever Olympics in South America. The new funds allowed the committee to give athletes unprecedented infrastructure for them to prepare for London and then for the 2016 Games. “We don’t want to hear again the Brazilian athlete asking for the same conditions as their opponents,” Freire said. “For London, he will have that same condition. We are delivering the best possible, just like the main Olympic powers.”
Freire said he knows “money doesn’t buy medals,” but said that planning ahead of time will be crucial for successful results when the Olympics arrive in Rio. “You need time to prepare an Olympic athlete, with the support from all levels of government and the private sector,” he said. “That’s why our goal is aggressive, to double the medals won in Beijing and put Brazil in the Top 10 in the medal count. It’s a strong goal, but also realistic, considering the time we have left.” The 16 young athletes that Brazil will take to London will stay in the city for about five days to “experience the Olympic spirit.” They will be allowed have lunch at the Olympic Village and even train with other Brazilians when possible. “The goal is for them to see what an Olympic debut feels like, but four years ahead of the Rio Games,” Freire said. ap