News / Americas

    IOC Official Says Rio Olympic Preparations 'Worst' Ever

    FILE - Olympic Park, that will host competitions for 10 sports at Rio's Olympics in 2016, is under construction in the area previously occupied by the Jacarepagua Autodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    FILE - Olympic Park, that will host competitions for 10 sports at Rio's Olympics in 2016, is under construction in the area previously occupied by the Jacarepagua Autodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    Reuters
    International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president John Coates has called Brazil's preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games “the worst” he has ever seen and critically behind schedule, but warned there was no “plan B” to find another host.
     
    Attending an Olympic forum in Sydney, Coates told delegates that construction had not commenced on some venues, infrastructure was significantly delayed and water quality was also a major concern two years out from the Games.
     
    “I think this is a worse situation than Athens,” said the Australian, referring to preparations for the 2004 Games, which were plagued by construction delays.
     
    “In Athens, we were dealing with one government and some city responsibilities. Here, there's three.
     
    “There is little co-ordination between the federal, the state government and the city - which is responsible for a lot of the construction.
     
    “And this is against a city that's got social issues that also have to be addressed; a country that's also trying to deal with the FIFA World Cup coming up in a few months.
     
    “It's the worst that I've experienced.”
     
    The first Games on the South American continent have been plagued by delays, rising costs and bad communication between different levels of the Brazilian government and organizers, prompting criticism from international sports federations.
     
    The IOC announced a series of measures earlier this month to kick-start lagging preparations, including employing extra monitors and sending project managers and teams of experts.
     
    “The IOC has formed a special task force to try and speed up preparations but the situation is critical on the ground,” Coates said earlier in a statement released by the Australian Olympic Commission.
     
    “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.”
     
    Can't walk away
     
    Brazil has been under the spotlight for the more immediate concern of the soccer World Cup finals starting in June.
     
    Amid problems with stadium construction, labor unrest and security in other parts of the country, thousands of troops were deployed to Rio's slums in February to wrest them back from the control of drug gangs and criminals.
     
    Coates has made six visits to Rio as a member of the IOC's coordination commission.
     
    Although Rio organizers boasted the same number of staff as London's two years before the 2012 Games, they lacked experience, Coates said.
     
    He pointed to only two staff working in the Games' tests department, though test events were scheduled to start this year.
     
    As Australian Olympic Committee president, Coates also spoke of the country's sports leaders and team managers “not getting answers” to any of their questions on visits.
     
    “Can they use the carparks in the village for recovery centers? What will be the time to take from this venue to this venue?
     
    “All of those things, they're being fobbed off.
     
    “But again, we just have to make it happen - and that's the IOC's approach. You can't walk away from this.
     
    “If it comes off - the first Games on the South American continent, in a magical city in so many ways - it'll be a wonderful experience for the athletes.”

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    UN: Drought-hit Central America Must Help Farmers Withstand Climate Change

    Aid groups and governments must boost resilience of communities and ‘not settle for simply mounting a humanitarian response every time an emergency situation occurs,’ official says

    Palestinian Swimmer Glides Past Obstacles to Reach Rio Games

    ‘Representing Palestine … is a dream,” says the 22-year-old university graduate, who has no Olympic-sized pool to train in and no training partners

    Argentine Police Search Ex-president’s Properties

    Investigators seek documents as part of probe into possible corruption by Cristina Fernandez

    Verdict in Trial of Brazil's Rousseff Due after Olympics, O Globo Newspaper Reports

    First Olympic Games to be held in South America are due to open Aug. 5 amid political turmoil, concern about the Zika virus and Brazil's deepest recession since the 1930s

    US Indicts 6 Honduran Policemen on Drug Trafficking Charges

    Officers accused of conspiring with son of a former Honduran president to smuggle cocaine into US

    El Chapo's Extradition to US Suspended

    Mexican judge rules that more of defense's arguments must be heard before drug lord is sent to US for trial