Body Guard sees its name and prestige in personal and corporate security consolidated at national and international levels following FIFA World Cup 2014, held in Brazil in 12 host cities, and specially after the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The company received immediate recognition for outstanding protection services rendered 24 hours a day all along the events to the huge working teams, equipment and material structures of three major international broadcasting networks – HBS in the World Cup, NBC and ZDF in the Olympics – that sent to billions of people around the world the scenes and emotion of the big sport competitions and their colourful, varied human background.
The World Cup highlighted not only the traditional openness of the country to visitors but a surprising organization ability as well, under the siege of a widespread mistrust. The Olympics have proven and increased Rio’s fame as a privileged tourist destination both for warm welcoming, joy and cultural diversity as for the safety and almost perfect operation of urban services. After a broad, sustained foreign campaign denouncing the most iconic Brazilian city for uncontrollable violence, health hazards and unbearable agression to the environment, facts showed violence had been placed under strict limits, dreaded epidemics controlled and an ecological face far more acceptable than the locals themselves had predicted.
A significant part of the success in security during the World Cup was due to the efforts and competence of Body Guard personnel that accompanied the French-Swiss HBS-Host Broadcasting Services’ news teams accross the country, ensuring their tranquility for the exclusive image transmission of all the tournement’s games, which amounted to over 5,000 hours of coverage. The work of strategic and operational planning was done in collaboration with FIFA and the Local Organizing Committeee, falling to Body Guard also the security of the IBC-International Broadcasting Center facilities, built by HBS at the Riocentro convention pavillions. With 17 TV studios, the biggest one in a 400m² area, and a 2,000m² Production Center, the IBC complex totalling 54,000m² brought together 86 media companies. From there every single detail of the Cup and each move of the matches was taken to billions of people around the world who followed or watched them and the whole show on TV, radio or the Internet.
Protecting an army of 3.500 people
In Rio 2016 a staff of 90 men and women scattered through the city in armored cars, including drivers and security personnel, nearly half of them bilingual, were made available by Body Guard only for the American network NBC-National Broadcasting Company. They were in charge of protecting 3,500 people among NBC sports and general news reporters, technicians, officials, emplyees, and collaborators, besides celebrities invited to take part in the live programs produced in Rio, as well as the American golfers competing in the Games, their staff and relatives. Among celebrities who came for the programs were actor and singer Zac Efron, snowboard and skate champion Shaun White, and the Brazilian top models Adriana Lima from Bahia and Alessandra Ambrósio from the southern Rio Grande state.
Scheme planned under supervision of Edwin Maldonado, NBC Sports Global Security Director, covered specific areas in the Zona Sul seaside neighbourhoods, where middle class layers mingle with favelas (slums), and the western upper classes beach suburb of Barra da Tijuca, with 6 armored cars permanently in rounds by the hotels and hostels where the network staff and guests stayed. Body Guard also accompanied reporters and athletes to other states, in addition to rendering 24-hour security at the NBC studio assembled in Copacabana and armored escort to the flatbed trucks with all the network equipment both at arrival in Rio or leaving the city. Work operations with NBC started on July 19 and closed on August 28. Throughout this period Body Guard team of 90 people, always in uniform, complied strictly with scheduled times or unpredicted requirements. Golfers and families had 4 extra armored cars at their exclusive disposal between 4 and 22 August, taking them to the competition venue and back to the hotel as well as on tours around town.
Maldonado was impressed in his first Olympics with our successful implementation of his scheme and said he had never had such a good experience. In any contingency the armored cars came quickly to the required places thanks to distribution in strategic points. Body Guard’s work matched above expectation, with no problems despite many overtime hours in monitoring the news crews, including incursions into pacified slums and coverage of different sports awards ceremonies. Steve Olson, PGA Tour Senior Director of Corporate Security, praised Body Guard in a letter to Maldonado shortly after the Olympics. And the State Department itself in an official document recommends Anderson Oliveira’s work in the command of the company for services rendered to the U.S. Olympic team.
German paraphernalia and the man-bomb
Succesfully facing the challenge of vast, complex and exhaustive tasks in the 41-day-long 24-hour protection of the American broadcasting giant, which dragged 3,500 people to Rio and other states to cover not only the Olympics but the most different news features of the country, represented a great experience added to the already large record of Body Guard in this corporate sector. Nevertheless, as though NBC challenge and the fundamental work done with HBS in the World Cup two years before were not enough, now we were also in charge of security for the Olympic and Paralympic crews of one of the largest TV networks in Europe, the German ZDF. And of the reporter who had denounced the institutional doping scandal which led to the exclusion of 100 Olympic Russian athletes and the entire Russia’s Paralympic team from Rio 2016, as well as the fraud scheme which also excluded two Kenyan team managers. All efforts put together, it was a formidable jump ahead to propel and consolidate Body Guard on the world scene.
Personal protection to German journalist Hajo Seppelt, 53, was of special importance due to threats from Russia and Kenya on twitter and youtube for his denunciation of the fraud schemes involving the national teams, the Russian case far more serious by its broad consequences. In the Kenyan case, two technical members were sent back home from Rio, one being the track and field team manager, who warned athletes that would be submitted to doping tests and charged them the corresponding to $13,000 for the inside information.
The hardest and overarching task was to escort all ZDF equipment, both directly used on field broadcasting and in the structure assembled by the German network in Rio, such as computers, cameras, TV sets, mobile phones, tables, chairs and everything else. All that since preparation for the Olympics in July, then through the Games in August, until the end of the Paralympics in mid-September. Throughout the period we provided 24-hour security to ZDF operational headquarters at the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) in the Olympic Park, Barra da Tijuca, including studios, recording centre, offices, and also the TV Tower.
A fully satisfactory performance in the extensive service rendered to ZDF crowned as a final big achievement the complex action developed by Body Guard on several fronts during the Olympic period, when world attention was focused on Rio. The company operations success thus added to and joined the significant results the country has drawn from remarkably hosting events of such an international projection.