- Title: BRAZIL: OLYMPICS: Brazilians rejoice at winning 2012 Olympic bid.
- Date: 3rd October 2009
- Summary: TOP VIEW OF HUGE RIO DE JANEIRO BANNER BEING STRETCHED OUT OVER CROWD PEOPLE OPENING FLAG TOP VIEW OF HUGE BANNER READING: "RIO LOVES YOU" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE LISTENING TO SMALL SAMBA BAND IN ON BEACH RESTAURANT WOMEN DRINKING CAIPIRINHAS TO CELEBRATE
- Embargoed: 18th October 2009 13:00
- Location: Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVAAY8KIF5Z8A4Y2P6E5WYDKZEJA
- Story Text: Thousands celebrate in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach after the Brazilian city was chosen to host the 2016 Olympic Games, bringing the world's biggest sporting event to South America for the first time.
Thousands of enthusiastic revelers packed Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach on Friday (October 2) to celebrate the Brazilian city's victory to host the Olympic Games in 2016.
Rio's successful bid sets the seal on Brazil's remarkable rise over the past decade from a near basket case to an economic and diplomatic heavyweight.
Just as the Beijing Olympics of 2008 marked China's revival as a world power, Rio 2016 will be seen as a stamp of approval on the South American giant's coming of age.
After decades of underachievement, Latin America's largest country has in recent years finally made good on the immense promise of its abundant natural resources, vibrant democracy and vast consumer market of 190 million people.
Rio's Olympics victory may be the most spectacular sign of Brazil's surging profile under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the country's first working class leader who nurtured an economic boom that has lifted millions out of poverty and made him one of the world's most popular leaders.
Thousands of thrilled Brazilians, many taking the day off work, partied with foreign tourists on Copacabana beach, where a huge banner reading "Rio Loves You" was opened over the crowd.
To the beat of one of the anthems of a major Rio samba school, the thrilled revelers shouted and sang.
"It was about time. It is a huge emotion, I can't handle such happiness," said an unidentified Rio resident partying on the beach.
"It's a huge joy. Rio deserved this and it's the most beautiful city in the world," added another thrilled reveler.
When the beach party ended, the revelers went off to bars to celebrate with Brazil's famous caipirinhas and chopps (draft beer).
Rio resident Victor Schamun said Brazil and South America needed such an event.
"We Cariocas are very happy and all Brazilians are very happy with this choice because we needed this, all of South America needed this," he said, while drinking a beer on beachside restaurant.
Valeria Tavares, who is spending the weekend in Rio, said it is time for Brazil to be acknowledged for something other than soccer and Carnival.
"Politically and economically Brazil will gain with this (Olympic Games). Enough of being recognized only for soccer and Carnival, I think we need to put a new image of ourselves out there," she said.
Brazil's revival has translated into a path out of poverty for about 20 million people, many of whom have benefited from Lula's generous welfare programs.
Yet Brazil still has plenty of challenges to tackle before it joins the elite club of developed nations.
Surveys have shown strong support for hosting the Games in Rio, and the city's campaign made the most of the famous passion of its people and its stunning natural setting between mountains and the sea. The decision brings the Olympics to the city that most encapsulates the tropical country's love of Samba music, Carnival, and football.
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