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
”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
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