Thousands of young people were introduced to Olympic sports at the first COB Expo in São Paulo ©COB

A host of Brazil’s sporting greats took part in the first edition of the COB Expo in São Paulo, organised by the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB).

The COB Expo provided visitors with what was described as "a unique experience of immersion in the Olympic world", and featured opportunities to try out different Olympic sports, as well as get insight from top sports stars.

Over the course of five days, almost 60,000 people visited Espaço Pró-Magno, including thousands of children and young people who were able to see some of the great idols of national sport up close.

The event is already established on the national sporting calendar for at least the next four years.

In 2024, the Olympic year, the COB Expo will take place in October at the Sports Practices Center of the University of São Paulo (CEPEUSP).

"The COB Expo concept was born from the experience of the Brazilian Olympic Congress, which we held in other editions with great success," said Paulo Wanderley, President of the COB.

A sport climbing wall proved popular at the first COB Expo held in São Paulo ©COB
A sport climbing wall proved popular at the first COB Expo held in São Paulo ©COB

"But at COB Expo we were able to cover more sporting activities and reach different audiences, especially children, where we had the initiative to popularise Olympic sports and involve all Confederations.

"Furthermore, we bring together education, knowledge, sport and business opportunities in the same space.

"We are very pleased with everything we offered in the last days of the event and for strengthening the national Olympic Movement."

There were more than 300 hours of panels and 490 hours of educational content with the presence of big names in Brazilian and international sport.

The event had 120 exhibitors from different sectors of the sports market and 200 speakers,

The "fair of all sports" included activity spaces offering the chance to practice more than 30 Olympic sports.

The facilities on show included a skateboarding rink, climbing wall, running and fencing tracks, a fighting arena, a sports court, a sand court, a table tennis arena, a 3x3 basketball court, canoeing stands, a weightlifting area and sections for archery and sports shooting.

The weightlifting area, organised by the Brazilian Weightlifting Federation, attracted numerous figures to try their hand at lifting weights including the newly-appointed Brazilian Minister for Sport Andre Fufaca.

In addition, the 35 Olympic Confederations of summer and winter sports were present with stands and experiments.

There was also a hugely popular display of breaking, which will make its Olympic debut in Paris next year.

Breaking displays were among the most popular attractions at the first COB Expo held in Sao Paulo ©COB
Breaking displays were among the most popular attractions at the first COB Expo held in Sao Paulo ©COB

Athletes on hand included Giovanna Diamante, the Olympic swimmer who won eight gold medals at last year’s South American Games in Asunción.

From the world of athletics, Alison Dos Santos, Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist and 2022 world champion in the men’s 400m hurdles, and shot putter Darlan Romani, the current world indoor and Pan American champion were present.

Others assisting included Olympic freestyle wrestler Laís Nunes, volleyball player Fernanda Garay, an Olympic gold medallist in 2012 and silver medallist at Tokyo 2020, who will be working for the COB communications team at this year’s Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, and Duda Amorim, who won the 2013 world title and three Pan American golds with the national women’s handball team.

There was a strong judo presence too in the form of Olympic women’s champion Sarah Menezes, double Olympic bronze medallist Rafael Silva and Rogério Sampaio, winner of the men’s under-65kg category at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, who is now general director of the COB.

"COB Expo meets a market demand, which was to bring together athletes, managers, Government entities and brands in one place, generating an environment of great exchange between everyone involved in the Olympic Movement," said Sampaio.

"We celebrate our athletes and their achievements, but we also strengthen our sporting community and inspire young people to follow their own Olympic paths.

"I am very proud of this delivery from COB."

COB marketing director Gustavo Herbetta added: "All the objectives we set with COB Expo were achieved.

"For COB, it represents the experience of a major event and an integrated movement focused on our target audience, which is young people."

Suppliers such as Henko, responsible for the fair's LED panels, and Recoma, a company specialising in sports infrastructure, which provides the flooring for some spaces, presented their products.

Media companies such as sportv, ESPN, Band and NSports set up studios at the event to take advantage of content opportunities.