Rio 2016 organizers react to tragedy
Rio Olympic organizers expressed their sadness after the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday and quickly moved to reiterate that security is ”a top priority” as the city prepares for the 2016 Games.
The 2016 Olympic committee offered condolences to those affected by the explosions and said it is constantly working with the local government to guarantee the games’ safety.
”Rio 2016 offers its deep thoughts and condolences to everyone affected by this tragic incident,” the committee said in a statement.
”Security is always a top priority for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and we are working very closely with our government partners to deliver safe games in 2016.”
Two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the marathon’s finish line in Boston earlier Monday, killing three and injuring more than 130, according to authorities.
”Clearly our first thoughts at this time are with the victims and their families,” International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said.
The IOC has not commented on any renewed security concerns for the Sochi and Rio Olympics.
Rio government officials could not be immediately contacted for comment. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff condemned the ”insane act of violence” in Boston.
The bombings forced British police to review their plans for Sunday’s London Marathon, but it was too soon to know if Rio would consider reviewing its security strategy for the Olympics.
Brazil hasn’t had to deal with a significant threat of terrorist attacks.
Security has been a hot topic in Rio recently after an American woman was raped and beaten aboard a public transit van while her handcuffed French boyfriend looked on helplessly. The attack made international headlines and added pressure to local Olympic organizers.
Brazil will also host the 2014 World Cup and the Confederations Cup just two months from now. The warm-up tournament will be played in six cities across the country and is seen as a big test for organizers in all areas.
Local World Cup organizers said they would not comment on the explosions Monday, and FIFA did not immediately return messages asking for reaction.
On Sunday, two fans were shot to death on their way to an event which was used by local organizers to evaluate the venue at a World Cup stadium in northeastern Brazil.
Rival supporters were suspected in the killings, which happened about 3 miles from the Arena Fonte Nova in the city of Fortaleza.
The local organizing committee said that ”work is being done by the police and the army in many areas of security, so we are not concerned with that for the Confederations Cup.”
Associated Press writer Marco Sibaja in Brasilia and AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson contributed to this report.
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