Brazil­ian Olympic Com­mit­tee boss re­signs from jail

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS - Stephen WADE

RIO DE JANEIRO — Car­los Nuz­man sent his res­ig­na­tion let­ter as head of the Brazil­ian Olympic Com­mit­tee from a pri­son on Wed­nes­day.

He’s been held there since last week amid an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a vote-buy­ing scheme to bring the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

The na­tional Olympic com­mit­tee im­me­di­ately des­ig­nated vice-pres­i­dent Paulo Wan­der­ley to re­place Nuz­man, who had headed the BOC for 22 years.

Wan­der­ley will serve the three years re­main­ing on Nuz­man’s term.

Speak­ing af­ter meet­ing with the BOC’s mem­ber­ship, Wan­der­ley de­scribed Nuz­man’s res­ig­na­tion as “a re­lief.”

“The res­ig­na­tion of the pres­i­dent, on a per­sonal level, I think will speed up re­solv­ing our prob­lems,” he said.

Nuz­man, who also headed last year’s Rio Olympics, had al­ready been sus­pended as a mem­ber by the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee.

Nuz­man’s ar­rest has fur­ther tar­nished last year’s games, which were plagued bud­get cuts, spotty at­ten­dance, and re­ports of en­demic cor­rup­tion. They also left be­hind a half-dozen “white ele­phant” sports venues.

Brazil of­fi­cially spent $13 bil­lion to put on the games. A year af­ter, the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee still owes cred­i­tors be­tween $3040 mil­lion.

Wan­der­ley said “all of us were taken by sur­prise” by Nuz­man’s ar­rest and al­le­ga­tions he helped chan­nel at least $2 mil­lion to Lamine Di­ack, a for­mer IOC mem­ber from Sene­gal.

Brazil­ian and French in­ves­ti­ga­tors also said Nuz­man had 16 ki­los of gold – worth about $750,000 – stored in a de­pos­i­tory.

Wan­der­ley’s main job is to con­vince the IOC to lift Brazil’s sus­pen­sion, which cuts of some its fund­ing.

“I will send an­swers to the IOC as soon as pos­si­ble to all the ques­tions they have asked us about,” Wan­der­ley said, adding that he’d had a cour­tesy phone call re­cently with IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach.

As the Olympic body met in­side its head­quar­ters, a hand­ful of pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side. Many car­ried plac­ards say­ing “Give the ath­letes a true vote.”

Luiz Lima, who quit sev­eral months ago as the No. 2 per­son in the fed­eral sports min­istry, was among those car­ry­ing a sign­board.

Lima, an Olympic swim­mer at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, said Brazil­ian ath­letes had “al­most no power.”

He said the 30 fed­er­a­tions that make up the Brazil­ian Olympic Com­mit­tee each have one vote in set­ting pol­icy.

He said ath­letes as a col­lec­tive have only one.

“This is only one vote in 31, which does not seem like any fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” Lima.

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