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IOC vice president: Rio Olympic preparations ‘worst’ ever

Apr 29, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

John Coates AP

Preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics are “the worst I have experienced,” International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates said Tuesday.

Coates, the president of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), has been an IOC member since 2001 and involved in the Summer Games for more than 30 years. He has visited Rio de Janeiro six times as part of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Games.

“They are not ready in many many ways,” Coates said, according to the AOC, at an Olympic forum in Sydney. “The city also has social issues that need to be addressed.”

Coates said there is no plan B and that the Games are going to Rio in two years.

He repeated concerns the IOC has voices about delayed preparations and said the situation is worse than that of Athens 2004. Four years before the Athens Olympics, then-IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch gave Games organizers a warning for being in a “yellow phase” with “many problems.” A green phase meant everything was proceeding smoothly, and a red phase meant the Games were in danger.

Coates said the IOC’s measure to embed officials in Rio’s Organizing Committee is “unprecedented.”

“The situation is critical on the ground,” Coates said. “We have to make it happen, and that is the IOC approach. You can’t walk away from this.”

Coates detailed publicized issues at the forum, such as construction not yet starting on some venues. The resignation of a top official, political and communication issues and a worker strike have recently set back the organization of the first Olympics in South America. Water quality is a major concern, he said.

Rio 2016 posted a statement on its website later Tuesday.

“Rio will host excellent Games that will be delivered absolutely within the agreed timelines and budgets,” it read.

The IOC, which has sent executive director Gilbert Felli to Rio, also issued a statement.

“Mr. Felli has received a very positive response on the ground in the past few days, and a number of recent developments show that things are moving in the right direction,” the IOC said. “Now is a time to look forward to work together and to deliver great games for Rio, Brazil and for the world, and not to engage in discussion of the past. We continue to believe that Rio is capable of providing outstanding games.”

Catching up with Laura Wilkinson

  1. skyking169 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Brazil is not ready for prime time.

  2. mulinaron - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Of course it is NOT ready, and will never be.

    What can we expect from a corrupt government, whose members are liars, thief, and are involved in every kind of dishonest issue?

    The mentality in this poor corrupt country is exactly that. If the IOC still wants to make the Olympics games in RIO, be prepared for the worst ever. That`s the Brazilian mentality.

    In all other places of the world, since the rebirth of the Olympic games, any other game has cost so much, so high amount of money spend (in corruption) and nothing is done. This is the flag of the Brazilian politics. Corruption, robbery and no one goes to jail. Ever.

    The plan B should be to transfer the games to other city, as Chicago.

    M. Santos.
    (one embarrassed Brazilian)

    • 127taringa - May 2, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      The plan is to infuse your country with Political Correctness, so watch what you wish for.

  3. michiganhockey11 - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    And people thought Sochi was bad…

    After talking with many Brazilians that I work with, this is going to be bad. Exponentially worse than Sochi.

    At least for the Superbowl in Detroit, Kwame drove the bums and homeless out of town and put them up in hotels for the week and weekend. Can’t do that with all the slums in Rio.

  4. mogogo1 - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    But as long as the money was right, the IOC would hand another Olympics to Rio in a heartbeat. Because as long as the bribe checks clear, that’s all that really matters.

    • michiganhockey11 - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      The only thing on the planet more corrupt than the IOC is FIFA….and guess where the World Cup is this summer?

      • mogogo1 - Apr 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        Somebody at the IOC is staring at an envelope of money right now coming up with the great idea to re-use the soccer facilities for an Olympic games.

      • 127taringa - May 2, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        When the IOC gets its line of thinking from the UN, what do you expect?

  5. yyyass - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    In another hundred years society will have moved on past this bloated and ridiculous effort to build up a track and field competition to be the equivalent of Yalta. Relatively few people REALLY care about most of the sports while they are playing out, and even fewer remember any of it five minutes after the flags wave. It mostly pre and post game activity hype interrupted by people running in circles and throwing things.

  6. carryingconcealed - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    And we’re surprised that a crime-ridden, third-world sh!thole can’t orchestrate a premier world event all by itself? Gee, shocker!

  7. jollyjoker2 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    these committees all take bribes … enjoy.

  8. frieda1977 - May 1, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Rio has social issues?! Really? Wow, is this something new? I am shocked!

  9. 1historian - May 2, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    This has been predicted since the day the games were awarded, and it’s only going to get worse.

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