Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=140949
Story Retrieval Date: 5/22/2013 2:54:47 AM CST
At least one group in Chicago wasn’t sad about the IOC decision – Chicago’s Brazilian community backed the bid that won.
Brazilians in Chicago reacted to the news with merriment on Friday.
The Maes Brasileiras of Illinois, a cultural group that connects Brazilian mothers, organized an impromptu celebration moments after the announcement.
“We exploded when they read the envelope and announced Rio,” said Mariana Sgarbi, the founder and manager of MBIL.
Sgarbi had been torn about which city she hoped would be chosen. She said she was 60 percent for Brazil and 40 percent for Chicago.
Sgarbi and other Chicago-area Brazilians say that the games will give people an opportunity to learn more about Brazil.
“I feel this would be a great way to show the diversity of this beautiful and amazing country that many people know so little about,” Fabiana Kraemer said.
Kraemer, who is now an American citizen, is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.
However, they were disappointed by Chicago’s early elimination. “I was more sad than I thought I would be,” said Patricia Jones, a 38-year-old mother from Brasilia.
Maria Drell, a staff member at the Brazilian Cultural Center, was a bit surprised that Rio was selected. Though she had been pulling for Chicago, she said she is happy for Rio.
“It is exciting not only for Rio, but for South America,” Drell said.
Rio’s win is also a victory for area Brazilians who are straddling two cultures.
For many of them, the selection gives them a chance to connect to their home country. Sgarbi spoke with her mother in Brazil, who was jubilant.
Brazil will be the first South American nation to host the Olympic Games.