International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has maintained that no public funds have been used to help pay for the 2016 summer Olympic Games after local and national officials in Brazil came to the aid of the forthcoming Paralympic Games.
The Olympic Games came to a close in Rio de Janeiro yesterday (Sunday), but funding for the Paralympics, which commences on September 7, has been a major issue in recent weeks. Ahead of Rio 2016, organisers had said the whole R$7.4bn (€2.05bn/$2.25bn) budget for both the Olympics and Paralympics would be funded privately, from sources including sponsorship deals, ticket sales and a grant from the IOC.
International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven on Friday confirmed that the IPC had worked with Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes to secure an additional R$150m of funding and was meeting with the federal government to bring in up to R$100m of sponsorship for the Paralympic Games from state-run companies.
Rio’s local organising committee opted not to separate the budget for the two Games, and has been engaging in cost-cutting efforts this year in order to ensure it could keep to a promise to remain privately funded. The use of such funds in delivering the Olympics and Paralympics is a highly sensitive topic in recession-hit Brazil, but Bach maintained the Olympics have been delivered as planned.
“There is no public money in the organisation of this Olympic Games,” Bach said at a press conference on Saturday. “The budget of the organising committee is privately financed; there is no public funding for this.”
Bach has also maintained that the staging of the Olympics has benefited Rio, stating that the city and its residents, known as Cariocas, had largely been out of the spotlight after Brazil’s capital was moved to Brasilia in 1960.
“Imagine if the situation would have continued like this,” Bach said. “Then imagine where Rio would be today. So this is why I am absolutely convinced that history or maybe the Cariocas of tomorrow will talk of Rio de Janeiro before the Games and the much better Rio after the Olympic Games.”
Speaking at Sunday’s closing ceremony, Bach added: “These were a marvellous Olympics, in a marvellous city. Over the last 16 days a united Brazil has inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy for life.”