Sao Paulo Prepares to Welcome Athletes

Sao Paulo, Brazil, the world’s sixth largest city, will play host to 2,500 Jewish athletes and support staff when the 12th Pan American Maccabi Games officially opens on the sixth day of Chanukah (Christmas Day).

Culture and sport will be the focus when Maccabi Canada delegates join 18 other national bodies for the biennial gathering of Pan American countries from December 5, 2011 to January 3, 2012. While most delegations will be from South, Central and North America, there will also be representation from as far away as South Africa, Australia, and Israel.

Sao Paulo, celebrating its 300th anniversary as a city, has one of the largest Jewish community centres in the world, boasting 35,000 members, while Brazil has the second largest Jewish community in Latin America and the 11th in the world.

‘A Hebraica de Sao Paulo’ (Community Centre) is located in one of the most historic districts of Sao Paulo and has garnered a reputation as a key communication hub for Jewish identity through sport, education, as well as social and cultural activities. It takes pride in its success at integrating its members and new arrivals with the community at large. It will also be a beehive of activity during the duration of the games.

With medals up for grabs in 18 sports, including basketball, judo, beach volleyball, rugby, bowling, softball, bridge, squash, chess, swimming, soccer, table tennis, futsal, tennis, golf, volleyball, artistic gymnastics and water polo, many different venues and cities in and around Sao Paulo will be featured and toured. Included will be some facilities which will be an integral part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games being held in Rio de Janeiro.

As for what the delegations can expect in terms of weather and economic climate, Brazil, with a population of 192 million people and the seventh largest economy in the world, also has the largest economy in Latin America.

It has a tropical climate with very little history of natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis or hurricanes and contains a significant amount of the world’s natural resources. As for the games in Sao Paulo, the Weather Network’s long term predictions call for a mix of sun, isolated showers and a temperature hovering around 24C during the day and 17C at night. The city, which is also known as “Sampa” or “Cidade da Garoa” (City of Drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion, and a multitude of skyscrapers.

Regardless, the climate for Maccabi Canada delegates will be comfortable and competitive as they take advantage of this opportunity to experience local culture and make new friends.

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