Speaking at the ceremony IOC President Thomas Bach said “when Pele was in his prime, Brazil were undisputedly the best team in the world. We could never blame Pelé for our defeats because of the beauty he brought to the game and the elegant way the Brazilians played. They were simply a joy to watch.”
The IOC had had to deliberate for “seconds” to decide whether or not to award him the Olympic Order, he added.
Receiving the award - the IOC's highest distinction - Pelé thanked the IOC President for bringing the Olympic Order to his home town. “It was from Santos that I went on to conquer the world,” said the footballing legend.
Joining the IOC President at the ceremony was the Brazilian NOC President and President of the Rio2016 Organising Committee, Carlos Nuzman, and IOC member in Brazil Bernard Rajzman. The Mayor of Santos and the President of Santos Football Club also joined the celebrations at the Pelé museum in the city.
2016 IAN JONES/IOC