The United States Sports Academy extends heartfelt congratulations to Rio de Janeiro, the winner of the Olympic bid for the 2016 Games and Paralympic Games.

The time for South America to host its first Olympic Games was long overdue. The country previously submitted bids in 1936, 2004 and 2012. This time, Brazilian President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva emphasized to International Olympic Committee (IOC) members that now was the time for South America to make its mark on Olympic lore.

The 2016 Games also marks the return of golf and rugby to the Olympics. Both have been absent from the Olympics since the early 1900s. Golf will consist of a 72-hole stroke-play competition for men and women. The rugby competition will include a four-day “sevens” tournament for men’s and women’s teams from 12 countries. Rugby is traditionally played 15 to a side, but the sevens format is considered by many to be more exciting and appealing to younger audiences.

Rio beat Madrid in the final round of voting after Chicago was ousted in the first round and Tokyo in the second round. The Olympics become the second significant international sporting event to be hosted by Brazil. Soccer’s World Cup comes to Brazil in 2014. The Olympics and World Cup are considered the largest two international sporting events in the world.

The IOC vote reaffirmed Brazil’s place as a world power. Currently the world’s 10th-largest economy, Brazil is expected to rise to No. 5 by the Games. Brazil is the world’s second-largest food exporter and is one of the world’s largest oil and ore producers.

Brazil’s readiness for the Games is reflected in the fact that more than half of the 2016 venues are already built, as the country hosted the 2007 Pan and Parapan American Games. It is also in preparation stages to host the 2014 World Cup.

With the Brazilians’ goal of bringing the youth of the country together and using the Olympics as a springboard to the country’s long-term development, the successful Rio bid already appears to be a winning one.