SBD/April 29, 2014/Olympics

IOC VP John Coates Slams Rio's Preparations For '16 Games, Calls It The "Worst" Ever

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Construction on some Rio venues for the '16 Games has not begun yet
IOC VP John Coates said Rio's preparations for the '16 Summer Olympics are "the worst I have experienced," according to the AP. Coates, who has made six trips to Rio as part of the Coordination Commission, said that the IOC had been "forced to take the unprecedented action of embedding experts in the local organising committee, including a construction project manager, to help ensure the games are delivered." Coates, speaking at an Olympic forum in Sydney yesterday, said that the IOC "had to form a special task force because the 'situation is critical on the ground.'" He added that construction "has not started on some venues" and infrastructure is "significantly delayed." He said Rio also has "social issues that need to be addressed." Coates: "The IOC has adopted a more hands-on role, it is unprecedented for the IOC but there is no plan B. We are going to Rio. We have become very concerned. They are not ready in many, many ways." Work "hasn't begun at Deodoro, a complex for eight Olympics sports venues." Coates said that dealing with "three levels of government in Brazil made it harder for local organizers than it was for the heavily criticized organizers of the Athens Games." He added, "There is bureaucracy, there is little coordination between the federal, the state government and the city -- which is responsible for a lot of the construction. The flow of funds from the federal government is not happening quickly enough. We think we need to help facilitate that" (AP, 4/29). Coates said that Rio organizers "have the same number of staff -- 600 -- as London did at the same stage in their preparations for 2012, but did not have the necessary experience." He said that it was "proving difficult for the IOC to get the answers they needed" (BBC.com, 4/29). 

SPIRIT OF THE GAMES: In L.A., David Wharton noted the IOC and the United Nations yesterday signed an agreement vowing to "use sport to build a better world." IOC President Thomas Bach after signing the accord in N.Y. with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "Sport can change the world, but it cannot change the world alone" (LATIMES.com, 4/28).
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