PtG Article 09.06.2016

The Olympics and Paralympics in Brazil: Who Takes the Prize?

A range of international and Brazilian authors describe the opportunities and challenges related to the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics in Rio in the 70th edition of ICSSPE’s Bulletin. Readers of have exclusive and free access to the articles.

Brazil and its upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games are the focal point of the 70th Bulletin published by the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE). The Bulletin is edited by Associate Professor Katia Rubio from the University of São Paulo and international director Jens Sejer Andersen of Play the Game.

The articles are also reproduced fully or in parts at If you want to continue reading, Play the Game readers get exclusive free access by first logging into ICCSPE’s Membership area at .

Please enter username: CUHK and password: 9unwtVMh. This log-in will be valid until October 31, 2016. The latest Bulletin is offered in the drop-down menu under “Membership”.

The editors’ introduction to the publication is entitled “The IOC and Brazil: A mutual need for hope”.

Personal and financial impact

As a first step onto Brazilian soil freelance writer and author Juliana Barbassa summarises some of the impressions she collected when portraying her childhood home country Brazil for the book “Dancing with the Devil in the City of God” (Simon & Schuster, 2015). It is an intriguing personal reflection over the main outcome so far of the meeting between Brazil and the so-called Olympic family.

Read Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Gamble by Juliana Barbassa 

The financial impact of the mega-events hosted by Brazil is analysed by the economists Marcelo Weishaupt Proni and Raphael Brita Faustino from UNICAMP (State University of Campinas). They question the optimism that is traditionally delivered by event organizers.

Read Economic and sporting legacy of Olympic 2016 by Marcelo Weishaupt Proni & Raphael Brito Faustino 

One of the key personalities that ensured the 2016 Olympics would get to Rio is the former FIFA President and IOC member João Havelange. At the decisive IOC session in 2009, he delivered a very different message to that coming from his rival campaigning for Madrid, the former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. While the 89-year old Samaranch appealed to the IOC colleagues to fulfill a last wish before the end of his life, the 93-year old Havelange invited them all to celebrate his 100 years birthday in 2016 in Rio!

In fact, it seems that the IOC members will get a chance to celebrate Havelange whose 100th birthday was 8 May. But it is highly probably that many of them will do their best to avoid being seen with a sports leader who today represents an era of systemic corruption. The times have changed since Havelange started his national and international sporting career in the 1960’ies and 1970’ies – a time that PhD Student Aníbal Chaim takes us back to in a report on how Havelange and the military regime supported each other’s ambitions.

Read Playing for Power: João Havelange’s Path to FIFA 1958-1974 by Aníbal Renan Martinot Chaim 

Effects on city life

No Olympics take place without international debate on how the infrastructure and city life is affected. Senior research affiliate Christopher Gaffney, an American who has lived for years in Rio and now works at the Institute of Geography at Zürich University, describes the transformations in Rio from a critical perspective.

Read Transforming Rio – For the Benefit of Whom? By Christopher Gaffney 

Part of this transformation concerns the specific Olympic zones which are discussed by PhD student of architecture, Renata Latuf de Oliveira Sanchez, a Brazilian currently studying in Plymouth in the UK.

Read Olympic Games in Rio 2016: A Discussion about its Legacy by Renata Latuf de Oliveira Sanchez

Changing infrastructure also means changing the daily life of thousands of families. The sometimes illegal displacements of local neighborhoods are discussed by Dr. Bárbara Schausteck de Almeida from the Sports Research Center at the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil) and PhD student Billy Graeff Bastos from Federal University of Rio Grande (Brazil) & Loughborough University (UK).

Read Displacement and Gentrification in the ‘City of Exception’: Rio de Janeiro Towards the 2016 Olympic Games by Bárbara Schausteck de Almeida & Billy Graeff Bastos

The displaced may not “Smile for the camera”, as PhD Student of Communication at the State University of Rio de Janeiro suggests that the media asks of the Paralympic athletes. Often overlooked in the media and the media research, Hilgemberg analyses how the coverage of Paralympic athletes has developed.

Read Smile for the Camera: Photographic Analysis of 2012 Paralympic Games Media Coverage in Brazilian Newspapers by Tatiane Hilgemberg

Participative legacy?

One of the main justifications of hosting big sporting events is that they inspire especially children and young people to be physically active. The evidence tells a very different story, but the argument survives. In Brazil, the traditional Olympic sports structures have used very little resources to mobilize new participants, but one non-Olympic organization – the Serviço Social do Comercio (SESC) in São Paulo – has picked up the gauntlet.

As one of the first sports bodies in Latin America, SESC has launched a massive research effort in order to gather evidence which is then used as a basis for renewing and refining the sports and movement programmes SESC offers to its members. Maria Luiza Souza Dias, manager of physical and sportive development, and Ana Paula Feitosa, technical assistant in the same area – share their experiences in this Bulletin. Also the sister organization Serviço Social da Indústria (SESI) gives a description of its activities today.

Read Diesporte Data – National Diagnosis of Sport – Challenges and Possibilities of Institutional Action by Maria Luiza Suoza Dias & Ana Paula Feitosa

Read SESI-SP: From Formation to Sports Performance by Eduardo Augusto Carreiro 

If the upcoming games open an opportunity for Olympic education, this opportunity is not sufficiently exploited, write PhD students Carlos Rey Perez, Maria Alice Zimmermann and Natalia Kohatsu Quintilio from the School of Physical Education and Sport at the University of São Paulo and Juliana Rodrigues Marconi from the Municipal University of São Caetano do Sul. There is no reason to expect that the Olympics will leave any long-term effect in the curriculum of the schools, they find..

Read Olympic Education: Reports of a Brazilian Reality by Carlos Rey Perez, Maria Alice Zimmermann, Natalia Kohatsu Quintilio & Juliana Rodrigues Marconi

Athlete empowerment

Did we forget somebody? Oh yes: the athlete. The very essence of the sporting movement. One of the editors of this Bulletin, Associate Professor Katia Rubio from the University of São Paulo, analyses the situation of the Olympic athlete in Brazil and gives the latest news from her campaign to reinstate the Olympic athlete.

Read Structural Challenges in Brazilian Sports: How to empower Athletes? by Katia Rubio  

Katia Rubio and Jens Sejer Andersen would like to thank all authors for their hard work which allows us to benefit from their research, experience and insight. We hope the reader will find the contributions useful, not only before and during the Olympics, but also in the years to come when it is time to identify the cultural, sporting, financial, social and political legacy of the games for Brazil and for world sport.

Now, let the games begin!