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Rio officials criticize Tokyo governor’s comments

October 7th, 2009
Shintaro Ishihara Tokyo's Governor

Shintaro Ishihara Tokyo's Governor

Officials from the Rio de Janeiro bid for the 2016 Olympics on Tuesday criticized Tokyo’s governor for making “inappropriate” comments about why his city lost out to Brazil in the IOC vote.

Rio organizers said Shintaro Ishihara violated the International Olympic Committee’s rules by blaming Tokyo’s loss on internal dealmaking and “invisible dynamics” in comments made Sunday in Japan.

The Rio committee said in a statement they were “surprised by the disappointing behavior” of Ishihara and would send a formal note to the IOC.

“Besides being regrettable, the statements made are in opposition to rules laid down by the IOC,” the statement said. “The city of Rio de Janeiro was elected by a large majority, and its technical project was previously approved by the IOC Evaluation Commission. The electorate identified in the Brazilian proposal a clear vision for the future of the Olympic movement.”

Rio beat Madrid in the final round of voting by the IOC. Chicago was eliminated after the first round with Tokyo going out in the second.

Ishihara said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who lobbied the IOC in person in Copenhagen, made “daring promises” to African people and that French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to support Rio’s bid if Brazil bought French-made fighter jets.

“I don’t know how relevant these promises were but they seem to be in violation of IOC rules,” Ishihara said at news conference Sunday. “This is part of the discomfort I have with the bid process.”

The Rio committee said it “is proud of the important and exemplary participation of (Silva) in support the Brazilian candidacy.”

The IOC is meeting in Copenhagen until Friday.


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