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RIO DE JANEIRO 8 -12 Feb 2013 Carnival 2013 takes over city
Rio de Janeiro’s carnival (Carnaval), arguably the least-inhibited street party in the world, begins with Rio’s mayor presenting King Momo,

February 8, 2013 - NULL

RIO DE JANEIRO 8 -12 Feb 2013 Carnival 2013 takes over city
Rio de Janeiro's carnival (Carnaval), arguably the least-inhibited street party in the world, begins with Rio's mayor presenting King Momo, the carnival ruler, with the keys to the city. Carnival centers on the hard-fought competition between the city's traditional samba schools and the competition for carnival king. Traditionally, candidates for king are expected to be tall and jovially fat, but health awareness is changing the picture. The incumbent and likely 2013 king, Milton Rodrigues Da Silva Júnior, is trying to lose weight for the competition - more

RIO DE JANEIRO 8 -12 Feb 2013 Carnival 2013 takes over city
Rio de Janeiro's carnival (Carnaval), arguably the least-inhibited street party in the world, begins with Rio's mayor presenting King Momo, the carnival ruler, with the keys to the city. Carnival centers on the hard-fought competition between the city's traditional samba schools and the competition for carnival king. Traditionally, candidates for king are expected to be tall and jovially fat, but health awareness is changing the picture. The incumbent and likely 2013 king, Milton Rodrigues Da Silva Júnior, is trying to lose weight for the competition - more safely that a predecessor with the same aim. In 1995, Reinaldo de Carvalho, King Momo for nine years, died trying to lose weight.
Reportedly, 10 firefighters were needed to remove Carvalho's body, which was placed in a specially built coffin and taken to lie in state at Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome stadium, where the Carnival parades take place.

Former mayor Otavio Leite launched an anti-obesity campaign during his tenure, and one of its most famous targets was King Momo. Leite deemed the portly shape for the carnival figurehead too ample, and candidates for the elected honor were required to be no heavier than 286 pounds to qualify.

According to an AFP report, the present king, who weighs in at 352 pounds and stands 6 feet tall, has employed a personal trainer and a nutritionist as he goes to drastic lengths to whip himself into shape for the festivities. Leite's rule may not have anything to do with his goal. In Feb 2012, he told Brazilian newspaper O Globo that when he became king for the first time, in 2009, he didn't realize the job entailed running around. "I got tired a lot," [and] after the carnival, I was ill." With the discovery, he resolved to improve his physical fitness for the samba marathon." "The fatty is the classic figure of King Momo, but now he is also healthy," said Santos, who is using spin classes to strengthen Junior's legs and knees to endure days of almost non-stop samba.

King Momo receive a giant key to the city from the mayor on the first day, symbolically initiating five days of wild partying and frantic samba dancing. The climax will be two night parades at the Sambadrome, where Brazil's top 13 samba schools will compete on floats packed with dancers clad wearing huge headgear, feathers, sequins and skin aplenty.

Carnival draws some 2 million visitors. (WRITTEN Sep 2012)

RELATED READING:

Brazil's Carnivals. Part I (Avax News Feb 2012)
http://www.rio-carnival.net/

Rio de Janeiro's carnival king in for Spartan boot camp (AFP/Taipei Times 16 Feb 2012)
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2012/02/16/2003525635

Rio De Janeiro Goes Carnival Crazy (Feb 2012)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/rio-de-janeiro-goes-carni_n_1290555.html

Rio's Fat King Dies Trying To Lose Weight (Orlando Sentinel 1 May 1995)
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1995-05-01/news/9504300369_1_carvalho-lose-year-carnival

Date written/update: 2013-02-08