Mayors share strategies for successful Olympics

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the city that will host the 2016 Olympics, said he was impressed with London’s ability to handle the large crowds attending the games. The Brazilian city plans to upgrade its transport system and infrastructure in the next four years to accommodate the surge of Olympic fans and leave a lasting legacy for its residents.

London Mayor Boris Johnson says this year’s games have provided a boost to tourism and to the image of both London and Great Britain. In a joint news conference with Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes — to talk about what Rio can learn from London when it hosts the games in 2016 — Johnson said visitors have seen a city that functions extremely well.

“There was a lot of anxieties about transport, about security, whether people would get behind the games. And you’ve seen some fantastic images of London beamed around the world. That’s the winner for me,” Johnson said.

Mayor Paes praised London’s established public transport system for its capacity to move large crowds with few major delays. He said Rio de Janeiro is already working to upgrade and improve its system for the games and for the long-term benefit of the people of the city.

“So only we carry 18 percent of all the population in high capacity transportation. With what we are doing now for the Olympics it will be more than 60 percent. So that means lots of changes for the city,” Paes said.

Taking note of some of the cheaper, temporary venues that London constructed for the Olympics, Paes said Rio does not intend to waste money building huge structures like’s China’s bird nest stadium that rarely has been used since the end of the 2008 games.

“I mean we’ll do as much temporarily as we can. Only if we need that after the games and we will use it as simple as we can. And not spend too much money on things that have to be teared down by the end of the games,” Paes said.

London’s Mayor Johnson describes the successful experience of hosting the Olympics as “spine tingling apprehension and a steady growing sense of relief.” The only advice he offered his Brazilian counterpart in planning the 2016 games, was to ignore the skeptics in the news media.

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