A sign points to site of the Olympic Park for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Rio Olympics organizers have "countered scathing criticism" from IOC VP John Coates with an "assurance they'll deliver an excellent 2016 Games on time," according to the AFP. Coates on Tuesday voiced "critical concern" over preparations. It "echoed months of worries from the Olympic overseeing body." But Rio's Local Organizing Committee insisted in a statement "they would deliver their 'historic mission' with IOC support, which an IOC statement said it would provide." The LOC said in the statement, "We have a historic mission: to organize the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil and in South America. We are going to achieve this. In 2016, Rio will host excellent Games that will be delivered absolutely within the agreed timelines and budgets." The LOC insisted "work being undertaken in partnership with the three levels of government -- federal, state and city -- is delivering progress." However, "worrying signs remain." Work at the Olympic site in Rio's Deodoro district "was due to start last year but was now expected to start in September." Beyond construction issues, "the city must also work on cleansing sewage-contaminated water in Guanabara Bay." A "further embarrassment for Rio has been the closure of the Engenhao stadium, built just seven years ago and set to host athletics but which has structural problems with its roof" (AFP, 4/30