LONDON — The IOC said Friday there is ”not a shred of truth” to a British newspaper report that London has been approached about replacing Rio de Janeiro as host of the 2016 Olympics.
The London Evening Standard reported that the British capital, which hosted the 2012 Olympics, has been ”secretly asked” if it would be able to take over from Rio because of the delays in Brazil’s preparations.
”Not a shred of truth in it,” International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said in an email to The Associated Press. ”Simply a non-starter – totally without foundation and totally unfeasible.”
With two years to go before the first games in South America, Rio has come under severe scrutiny for chronic delays. Last week, IOC vice president John Coates called Brazil’s preparations ”the worst I have experienced” and said Rio is further behind than Athens was before the 2004 Olympics.
Coates later toned down his remarks, saying Rio organizers ”recently took a number of measures designed to make sure that we can together deliver a great games.”
The IOC has implemented emergency measures to tackle the situation in Brazil, sending long-time executive Gilbert Felli to Rio to work with local organizers, setting up several task forces, hiring a local construction manager and creating a high-level decision-making body.
The Evening Standard said ”an informal approach was made by Olympics bosses to discover whether enough venues from the triumphant 2012 London Games could be brought back into use.”
The report quoted an unnamed source as saying ”obviously, the answer would be to come back to London. It’s very unlikely but it would be the logical thing to do.”
The paper suggested that London could share events with Glasgow, the Scottish city which is hosting the Commonwealth Games in July.
Moving the games to London would involve huge logistical and financial challenges.
Many of the venues from the 2012 Olympics have been dismantled or converted for public use. The Olympic Stadium is currently being reconfigured into a smaller venue that will become the home of West Ham football club in the 2016-17 season.
The athletes village, which housed more than 10,000 competitors in 2012, has been converted into private housing.