To loud "aahhs" and applause from the audience, the team that led the Brazilian city's winning bid to host the 2016 Olympics on Saturday unveiled a new map of the world to make clear that South America, finally, is getting the games.
In trying to convince the International Olympic Committee to pick Rio, the city's bid team had shown the committee's members a map showing that North America had held 12 games, Europe 30, Asia five and Oceania two. They left South America blank _ to hammer home the fact that the continent had not staged the games.
On Friday, the IOC awarded the Olympics to Rio over Madrid after the final round of voting, so the city's new map shows one on South America.
"This is a new map, a historic map of the IOC's historic decision," Carlos Nuzman, who led Rio's bid and is also an IOC member, said when it was displayed for the first time.
Nuzman said a difference between Rio and the defeated bidding cities _ Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago _ was having President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on its side.
Chicago had President Barack Obama, Madrid was backed by the King of Spain and Japan's new prime minister lent his support to Tokyo, but Nuzman said Silva had been more personally involved in the bidding process than the other leaders. Silva met repeatedly with IOC officials and he wrote personally to its members, in letters that were delivered by hand.
"We had a head of state who worked during two years, who knew everything about the project," he said. "The other three, with all my respect, they didn't. This is the huge difference."
Nuzman said he and his team also met personally and repeatedly with all of the IOC's members _ there are 106 of them, including him _ in recent years to the point where "some of them say, they say, 'Come on, it's too much!'"
Before the vote, the Rio team's lobbying allowed it to predict with almost spot-on accuracy the final outcome, he said.
"We made a list of the voters," Nuzman said. "The result that we had _ it's on paper, we can show you _ was final round Rio 67, Madrid 33."
In the end, the actual result was 66 votes to 32.