IOC: ‘Time is ticking’ for Rio Olympic organizers

With concern mounting about the pace of progress for the 2016

Games in Rio de Janeiro, the IOC warned Brazilian organizers

Tuesday that ”time is ticking” and they must attack the project

”with all vigor” to ensure that the first Olympics in South

America are a success.

With the games less than four years away, Rio organizers briefed

the International Olympic Committee executive board on their

preparations amid leadership changes and uncertainty about the

budget and location of some sports venues.

Rio brought its new chief executive, Sidney Levy, who will take

over the post in January. He’ll replace Leonardo Gryner, who

becomes the chief operations officer.

”Our message remains: There is time, but time is ticking, and

they need to carry on attacking this one with all vigor,” IOC

spokesman Mark Adams said in an unusually blunt public statement

about an Olympic organizing committee.

The meeting came just a few weeks after IOC officials were in

Rio for a debriefing with organizers of the London Olympics. While

London’s seven-year preparations for the games went off without any

major crises, the IOC is concerned that Rio organizers are still

facing major challenges.

Carlos Nuzman, head of the Rio organizing committee, said

everything remains on schedule.

”We are in a very good, comfortable situation,” he said.

”It’s important we work as a team – the IOC, the organizing

committee and the government. I think we are in a very good


Rio recently announced the rugby venue won’t be built where it

was originally planned, and there is still uncertainty over the

location of the field hockey arena. The land where the golf course

will be constructed remains the source of a legal dispute.

”We went through some of the venues that still need to be

finalized,” Adams said. ”There is no kind of great concern. There

is nothing new.”

Adams said the IOC asked organizers about the Brazilian economy,

which experienced disappointing growth figures for the third


While Rio officials still don’t have an exact figure for the

cost of the games, Nuzman said the budget would be announced next

year. Billions of dollars are being spent on venues and

infrastructure upgrades.

”We are expecting (the budget) any time,” Adams said. ”I

don’t think there is any great concern about that. It is still

within the timescale we’re expecting.”

Nuzman hailed Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s decision last

week to veto part of a bill that will give a greater share of

royalty revenues from the country’s vast oil fields to

non-producing states.

Rio de Janeiro state officials had warned that without a veto,

the measure would deprive Rio of $1.7 billion in 2013 alone,

endangering preparations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016


”We have a fantastic decision from our president,” Nuzman

said. ”It gives Rio a recognition of the rights that they