Nuzman stays ahead of Brazilian Olympic committee

Updated: October 5, 2012, 5:34 PM ET
Associated Press

SAO PAULO -- Carlos Nuzman, who helped bring the Summer Games to Rio de Janeiro, has been re-elected to his fifth straight term as president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, saying he will put Brazil in the top 10 in the medal count in 2016.

Nuzman, the only candidate, was re-elected 30-1 on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. The only confederation that opposed him was the Brazilian Ice Sports confederation, whose president has been in a feud with the committee in recent years.

The soccer and sailing federations were not present to vote.

Nuzman's re-election comes amid increased criticism by politicians, sports analysts and the media in Brazil, which have been accusing him of wrongdoing and saying he has been in power for too long. At the end of his new four-year term in 2016, Nuzman will have completed 21 years at the head of the committee.

The 70-year-old Nuzman also is president of the organizing committee for the 2016 Olympics.

"I'm completely focused on delivering great games and securing Brazil among the top 10 medal winners in 2016," Nuzman said. "This is a mission for the country, which will be accomplished along with the federal, state and city governments, as well as with the confederations and all of those who love sports."

Brazil won a record of 17 medals at the London Games, but it was only two more than it did in 1996 in Atlanta. The country won three golds in each of the last two Olympics, the same amount it won in Atlanta, which have prompted critics to say Nuzman failed to significantly improve Brazil's Olympic performance since taking over the committee in 1995.

Nuzman argues that Brazil had won only 39 medals in 16 Olympic Games before he took over, and 69 in the five since he became president.

"With the increase in funding for Olympic sports in Brazil after winning the bid for the 2016 Olympics, we are certain that it's possible to make a major leap in quantity and quality in the medal count in the next edition of the games," Nuzman said.

The official has retained widespread support within the committee after working vigorously to bring the Olympics to Brazil -- and South America -- for the first time, a feat that also earned him recognition throughout the International Olympic Committee. Nuzman has been an IOC member since 2000.

"Brazil's status changed after it organized the 2007 Pan American Games and won the bid to host the 2016 Games," Nuzman said. "This is Brazil's most important moment in sports, as we have great challenges ahead. I couldn't be more motivated."

The only opposing force to Nuzman within the committee came from ice sports confederation president Eric Maleson, whose attempt to run in Friday's election was thwarted because he allegedly didn't meet some of the eligibility requirements. Maleson claims he is being persecuted by the committee because of his opposition to Nuzman.

A lawyer and a volleyball player who participated in the 1964 Tokyo Games with Brazil, Nuzman has been vehemently defending himself from the increased attacks, including those from former Brazil star striker Romario, now a congressman.

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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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