Olympics Rio 2016 – Will There Be One?

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With all the hassle around the preparations for the World Cup 2014, we almost might forget that in two years the Olympics will be held in Rio.
Let’s have a look whether the disaster with the World Cup preparations, can also be seen with the preparations for the Olympics.

There are two years left and the IOC starts thinking about ‘Plan B’ for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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If Rio de Janeiro still wants to host the 2016 Olympics they better start rolling up their sleeves. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) admitted on April 8, that they might start thinking about changing the seat of the Olympics 2016, due to the slow pace in work progress in Rio. “We can be flexible on the issue of infrastructure, but not in relation to sports venues. Even for those which we didn’t consider at risk, we now sense a need of urgency. We have to sit down and start looking for a plan B”, criticized the Italian Francesco Ricci Bitti, IOC member and head of the International Tennis Federation, in an interview with The Associated Press.

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Rio 2016 – Olympic Village under construction – Photo: Custodio Coimbra/O Globo

According to Bitti, the Local Organising Committee is committed, but collides with the neglectfulness of the government. “We have a committee with good people, but without the necessary power to deal with the problems. We are startled. The Government needs to change the speed. They must act now”, he demanded, and continued to say that if it delays another six months the situation will become very serious. “We can’t always expect that, in the end, everything will be solved. That’s the habit of the South Americans, who are not accustomed to hosting major events”.

Government support to the Games is “slow and insufficient”, emphasised Bitti, especially with regard to financial resources. “They talk a lot, but no money. And words are not enough”. A major concern is with the Olympic Park in Deodoro, Rio West, which will host eight sports and the original construction planning is compromised. “They are delaying, delaying, delaying”, repeated the Italian. Whatever the IOC might find, the Brazilians stay positive. Agberto Guimarães, executive sports director of Rio 2016 attempted to demonstrate confidence: “I still think we can make it work and have a great Olympics”, he said, according to Reuters.

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The critical situation with Rio 2016 forced the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to adopt a series of measures, including a stronger presence in Rio de Janeiro, to monitor progress and accelerate the behind-schedule construction works for the 2016 Olympics. The decision of the IOC president, Thomas Bach, is in response to requests from sports federations to draw up an emergency plan to combat delays in the construction works. Bach promised to intervene and prevent a crisis. According to him, the situation has reached a critical point.

“It’s time to act”, Bach said, after a barrage of criticism and complaints from representatives of international sports federations about the lack of progress in Rio de Janeiro. “We have the feeling that we are in the most critical situation of the preparations for the Olympics since 20 years”.

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The frequency of visits to Rio of the evaluation committee will be increased, and the IOC will hire local project managers for the daily implementation of the plans and send task forces composed of specialized experts to analyse specific issues. These professionals will be appointed in the coming weeks, according to Bach.

Although Rio has won the right to host the event in 2009, the construction works of the Deodoro Olympic Park have not started yet, and the pace of progress in other key locations is slow.
Boaters have criticized the pollution of Guanabara Bay, where sailing will be contested, and since last week the construction workers of Barra da Tijuca Olympic Park went on strike demanding a salary increase.

The actual situation of the pollution of Guanabara Bay, where yachting will be contested

The actual situation of the pollution of Guanabara Bay, where the sailing games will be contested

In the meantime the government divulged the first version of the budget/estimated costs of the Olympic Games 2016. With the construction works delayed the Games are now estimated at BRL 37.5 billion (USD 16.8 billion).
And that’s not the end-total as various projects haven’t been calculated yet, and aren’t even from the drawing board.

It’s interesting to remember that, in 2008, with Rio campaigning for the Olympics the costs were foreseen at BRL 28.8 (USD 12.9 billion, without monetary correction).
The Olympics in London consumed some USD 18.4 billion.

In comparison the World Cup 2014 is estimated at BRL 25.6 billion (USD 11.5 billion), which still is an estimation and expected to end up much higher.

“After the closing ceremony of the Games in Rio, we return to the question (of who is at fault) and talk about responsibility”, IOC president, Thomas Bach declared.

Source: O Globo and Veja