Brazil’s historic, humiliating 7-1 loss against Germany in the semifinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will leave a bad taste in its fans mouths for years – generations, really – to come.
But the successful preparation and execution of the World Cup by its host nation shows that the country is more than capable of delivering a similarly successful experience shows when Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Olympics, IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli told the Associated Press.
Brazil will become the first South American nation to host an Olympics in 2016. Felli said that concerns about Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic preparations, including reports of construction delays, have been contradicted by the World Cup’s success, which shows Brazil is prepared to host the world again in two years.
“The perception of the Brazilians is much more positive,” Felli told AP. “It’s good for the Games. They have better trust in themselves to deliver the Games.”
Past Olympic host nations have endured similar concerns about preparation and construction timelines, including Sochi in the runup to the 2014 Winter Olympics, but Felli said that while such concerns are natural, Brazil is on the right track.
“Until the games are delivered I’m always concerned. But it’s not the case to say we’re not going to make it. … My view is we will make it and the Brazilians will deliver excellent Games,” Felli said.
Construction begins on Rio’s second biggest cluster
David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.
“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”
Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.
It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.
Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.
She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.
“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”
Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.
MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics
Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.
Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.
He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.
“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”
Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.
“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.
“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”
MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds