Brazil looking for medal ‘bounce’ in Rio Olympics
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil hopes to nearly double its medal total for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, using increased funding to follow the pattern of recent Olympic host nations Britain and China.
Marcus Vinicius, executive director of sport for the Brazilian Olympic Committee, said Wednesday that Brazil was aiming to win between 27 and 30 medals in Rio, up from the 17 it won two years ago in London.
Vinicius said Brazil would spend a record $600 million in public and private funds to train athletes in the four-year cycle leading up to Rio. He said spending in the previous four-year cycle was about $350 million.
Olympic host nations traditionally get a bounce. Britain won 47 medals in Beijing in 2008, but managed 65 four years later in London. China won 63 medals in Athens in 2004, but improved to 100 in Beijing.
Vinicius said Brazil would send about 400 athletes to Rio and hoped to beef up its medal count in areas where it is traditionally competitive — volleyball, beach volleyball, sailing, swimming, football and athletics — and pick up a few in disciplines like canoeing, boxing, gymnastics and pentathlon.
“Our idea for Olympic power is not focusing on some three or four sports,” he said. “It’s more open for more sports. For us, Olympic power is ... 10 or 12 different disciplines.”
Vinicius said the goal was to finish in the top 10 in the overall standings. In the overall medal count in London, Brazil finished tied for 14th place with Spain, both with 17 medals. Italy and South Korea tied for 10th with 28 medals each.
When the ranking are based on gold medals won, Brazil fell to 22nd place with only three gold, five silver and nine bronze.
The United States topped both the overall and gold-medal table in London, taking 104 medals overall, and 46 gold.
In a separate expenditure, Brazil is expected to spend about $20 billion — a mix of public and private money — to hold the Olympics and build related sport and urban infrastructure.
With sparse funding, Latin American nations have traditionally lagged behind in the medal count at the Summer Olympics. A Latin American country has yet to win a medal in the Winter Olympics.
Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP