IOC VP John Coates Backtracks, Offers Reassurance Over Progress For Rio Games
IOC VP John Coates "has rowed back on his trenchant criticism" of the preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics, saying he is certain the city will be able to host a "great" event, according to Nick Mulvenney of REUTERS. The Australian told an Olympic forum in Sydney on Tuesday that Brazil "was critically behind schedule in their preparations and the situation was 'the worst' he had ever witnessed." In a statement, Coates said, "I want to underline that I still believe that Rio Organizing Committee and the people of Brazil can indeed deliver excellent Games in 2016." Coates, who has made several trips to Rio as part of the coordination commission inspectorate for the Games, said that "he had been reassured" after speaking to his IOC colleague, Exec Dir Gilbert Felli, on Wednesday. Coates: "He has provided me with a positive update of progress and the support and positive response he is receiving from the organizing committee. Time is of the essence but things are moving in the right direction" (REUTERS, 5/1).