Top officials put a Jewish stamp on the Rio Olympics
RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Mazel tov! That’s perhaps how the big shots in charge of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the first to take place in South America, will toast victories when the competition gets underway Aug. 5.
Three of the top officials of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, including its president, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, are Jewish.
But in the run-up to the games, there have been more “oy gevalts” than mazel tovs as organizers deal with reports of unfinished venues, polluted swimming and sailing sites and, most of all, concerns about the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
In an interview with JTA, Nuzman said the number of Zika cases in Rio have dropped sharply in recent weeks, and are expected to fall even further during the dry months of the Brazilian winter, as Rio 2016 organizers emphasized at a news conference on June 7. Last month, the World Health Organization said there is no public health justification for postponing or canceling the Games.
“None of the top athletes have declared not to come. If there’s a second-layer one who won’t come, good for him,” an irritated Nuzman told JTA.
One of Brazil’s most prominent sports figures, Nuzman, 74, is a former president of the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation and has been president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee since 1995.
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Source: JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)