Links of Olympic strength

With the next two Olympic Games due to be hosted in London and Rio, the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has launched a new Major Sporting Events Committee to strengthen business connections between Brazilian and UK companies.

To mark and celebrate the beginning of this innitiative a conference was held on 26th January with VIP guest speakers and an audience of UK businessmen of the events and infrastructure market, arranged by the BCC and MEI (Major Events International) and hosted by Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

Following the opening by the chairman Jaime Gornsztejn, the proceedings began with Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of LOCOG (the 2012 London Organising Committee) responsible for staging the Olympic Games in London 2012, and John Armitt, Chairman of the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority), the body charged with building the venues, facilities and infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Mr.Deighton began with an acute awareness of the timeline ahead, with 78 Wednesdays remaining before London’s Olypics, and discussed the common agenda for both London and Rio, and how in such scenarios you truly need help wherever you can get it, with the challenge which lies before them being translating their winning bid into a successful reality, one which the media will scrutinise every step of the way.

But the exciting prospect amidst all of this is the tremendous and evident capacity for change, something which touches every part of the country, bringing in the energy of younger generations, blending both public and private co-operation and embracing the challenge and opportunity.

Following in his lead, Mr.Armitt then stood up to drum home the here and now of the Games’ progress, their being at 80% through their workload, with a stress upon the importance of setting and achieving goals, ascertaining all of the root planning and design and ensuring this is good enough in order to avoid change en route.

The opportunities he highlighted lay in the areas of industry, initiatives for sustainability and the environment, and how knowledge, ideas and importantly lessons learnt along the way can then be subsequently sold or exchanged with future hosts afterwards; it’s “nakedly commercial out there”, he remarked.

Next up was Dennis Mills, Chief Executive of MEI, to outline the Committee’s activites. Turning the focus a touch more to Brazil, he explained the country faces vast hurdles ahead, with huge modernisation programmes in both the country’s transport and infrastructure ahead of the Olympics and World Cup (an obstacle of a lesser size for London), and Brazil’s 12 City Major Event Challenge, in which the budgets for some tower over equivalent budgets on these shores.

Mr.Mills went on to point out that Brazil’s volunteer programme would need to be advanced, but that MEI’s prime concern was for the committee to bring focus on the iconic and multi-sector market, a market that no-one can ignore, and monopolise on the opportunity of connecting companies here in the UK to those in Brazil

Bringing the early evening’s presentation to a close the Brazilian Embassador in London, Roberto Jaguaribe, rose to share some thoughts, the overriding one being conviction that London 2012 and the World Cup and Rio 2016 would be a total success, with the London bid and project truly setting the standard.

What presents itself before us is a necessary undertaking, facilitating enterprise through the commitment of both countries’ governments to seal a stronger connection.

In 2011 we can look forward to the visits of Nick Clegg, the Foreign Secretary and also the Prime Minister in Brazil, demonstrating the importance of this relationship and a celebration of the possible links between London 2012 and Rio 2016.

By Milo Steelefox & Olly Hunter


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