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article image'No plan B' as Rio Olympics preparations prove to be 'worst' ever

By Karen Graham     Apr 29, 2014 in Sports
Rio De Janeiro - Brazil's preparations in getting ready for the 2016 Olympic Games are the "worst" ever seen, according to John Coates, the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee. Citing numerous problems, Coates said the IOC is taking a more hands-on role.
Speaking at an Olympic forum in Sydney on Tuesday, Coates told delegates construction of some venues had not even started. There were significant delays in infrastructure preparations and water quality was still a big concern. "The situation is critical on the ground," he said.
In a statement released by the Australian Olympic Committee on Tuesday, Coates said the IOC has put together a task force to speed up the preparations. "The IOC has adopted a more hands-on role, it is unprecedented for the IOC but there is no plan B. We are going to Rio. We have become very concerned, they are not ready in many, many ways. We have to make it happen and that is the IOC approach, you can't walk away from this."
Delays aren't that unusual in getting ready for major sporting events. The 2004 Athens Games had delays in construction and service delivery. The IOC threatened to take the games away from Greece, but eventually, everything came together and the Games went off smoothly.
With the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, Coates cited six visits already made by the IOC committee. He pointed out that Rio has the same number of staff, 600 people, as did London at the same stage working on the 2012 Games, but the Rio staff doesn't have the experience needed. The IOC's special task force includes project managers, and teams of experts.
Guanabara Bay, the jewel in Rio's crown, is now tarnished, almost beyond redemption. The bay is to be the venue for rowing and sailing events during the 2016 Olympic Games. But city officials have admitted that only 40 percent of the 1.3 billion liters of sewerage, effluent, oil and run-off that is created in the city each day is treated. The rest goes directly into the waterways.
It should be noted that the communications department for the Rio Secretary of the Environment in Rio de Janeiro has stressed that work on sewage treatment plants, "eco-boats" and stronger enforcement of sanitary regulations are in place, with the promise made to the IOC that by 2016, treatment of raw sewage would be raised to 60 percent.
With just 44 days to go before the opening of the FIFA World Cup Games, Rio de Janeiro is already plagued with problems. There have been delays in construction of the stadiums, labor unrest, and social disturbances straining the country's police forces and military. The latest problems led to thousands of troops occupying Rio's largest slum in February in an attempt to wrest back control from criminals and drug gangs.
More about IOC vicepresident, Rio de Janeiro Games, Water quality, Infrastructure, behind schedule
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