IOC backs Rio Olympic preps after stadium closure
The IOC expressed confidence Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro’s
preparations for the 2016 Olympics despite the temporary closure of
the stadium that will host track and field events.
Rio authorities said they decided to shut the Joao Havelange
Stadium because of structural problems with the roof.
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the
stadium closure was no reason for alarm.
”There are still more than 3 1/2 years to go before the games
and we are absolutely confident that they will deliver,” he told
The Associated Press, adding that the IOC is ”in regular contact
with Rio 2016.”
Track and field’s governing body said it is monitoring the
”We have noted this and will keep a very close eye on
developments,” IAAF spokesman Nick Davies told the AP.
Rio officials said Wednesday there is no timetable for the
stadium’s reopening, but the venue’s preparations for the games
should not be affected.
”We are continuing with the Olympic projects, they are our
responsibility,” said Armando Queiroga, president of Rio’s
department in charge of the stadium. ”We are very confident in
what we planned to do.”
IOC executive director Gilbert Felli reiterated this will be a
crucial year for Rio organizers.
”The games are very complicated to organize,” he said in
Istanbul, where the IOC was assessing the Turkish city’s bid for
the 2020 Olympics. ”The scope is huge. You always have, during the
seven years, some key parts. Each organizing committee reaches at
some point some difficulty.
”Rio (is) in a key period of delivering the facilities. And as
such you have some key monitoring to have. We are not concerned
that the Brazilians will not be able to deliver the games.”
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes announced the stadium’s closure on
Tuesday after receiving the reports of structural problems with the
Officials said it could take up to 60 days to evaluate the full
extent of the problem and determine a solution. Paes said Tuesday
that the venue will remain closed for as long as necessary.
It has been the main Rio stadium since the Maracana closed for
renovation ahead of the Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.
It was built for the 2007 Pan American Games.
The venue is expected to be upgraded from a 46,000-capacity
stadium to a 60,000-capacity venue for the Olympics, when temporary
seats will be added.