Concerns Growing More Serious That Rio Will Not Be Ready For '16 Games
Even with "lowered expectations, the preparation for" the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games is "clearly not up to snuff," according to Christopher Clarey of the N.Y. TIMES. Olympic and int'l sports officials last week, "concerned over the lack of construction and commitment in Rio, sounded the alarm in public at the SportAccord Convention in Turkey." Two major concerns included the "Deodoro complex, essentially Rio’s secondary Olympic Park, where major construction work has yet to begin, and the first Olympic golf course, which does not look remotely ready for golf." The economic and political context "has changed dramatically since Rio’s bid prevailed" in '09 as Brazil’s economy is "now suffering." Former IOC Marketing & Broadcast Rights Dir Michael Payne, a consultant to Rio's successful bid, said, "The situation in Rio is far more serious than anything the IOC faced in Athens. I don’t think it’s a case of someone shouting wolf or whatever." He added, "I don’t think the IOC has faced such a serious crisis relative to the delivery of the Summer Games ever." IOC President Thomas Bach "has not ruled out moving the Olympics from Rio." But it "still seems nearly certain that it will be Rio, two years after Brazil stages this summer’s soccer World Cup, which has plenty of its own concerns" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/11).
LATE FOR TEE TIME: GOLF WORLD MONDAY's Dave Shedloski notes the Brazil Open, a part of the NEC Series-PGA Tour Latinoamérica, has been "identified as the test event in preparation" for the '16 Olympic tournament. The event is scheduled to be "played on the Gil Hanse-designed Olympic course in the fall of 2015 -- though sources say preparations are being made to seek an alternate test site given the interminable construction delays at the Olympic layout." Hanse thinks a recent visit from the IOC "might have done enough to light a fire under the developer to complete the layout by this November, a slightly better outlook than recent estimates" (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 4/14).