Rio Olympic Games On Track to be Successful, IOC Declares

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Olympic equestrian venue in Deodoro outside Rio de Janeiro.
Olympic equestrian venue in Deodoro outside Rio de Janeiro.

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 13, 2016–The Olympic Games were on track to be “successful,” the International Olympic Committee declared Wednesday, with just over 100 days to go to the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.

The statement by Nawal El Moutawakeed, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, came at the end of three days of meetings and venue inspections, the last by the IOC body before the Aug. 5 opening of the first Games in South America.

It came the same day as the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a link between the Zika virus and birth defects and days before a vote to impeach Brazil’s president that could lead to political and economic instability.

However, the IOC Commission said 98 per cent of all venues were already completed. And 33 test events had been successful with positive feedback from competing athletes. Popular backing for the Games remains strong, with more than 70 per cent support in Rio de Janeiro.

The IOc’s glowing report after the years of uncertainty over the ability of Brazil to complete venues by the deadline said the effort to be ready on time came “despite the complex political and economic context.”

Nawal El Moutawakeed, the IOC said, made her statement after meetings in Rio with representatives of federal, state and city governments as well as the organizing committee and a tour of the Olympic Park and Deodoro sites, where the equestrian events will be staged.

“As we enter the final 114 days until the opening of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, and despite the complex political and economic context, we are confident that Brazil and the Brazilians are on track to deliver successful Olympic Games with an outstanding legacy,” she said. “The strong support from the local authorities as well as the partnership and solidarity shown by the IOC, international federations, national Olympic committees and other Olympic partners… has been invaluable to the Rio organizers as they finalize their preparations.

“The last stretch is always the hardest. During the operational phase that we are entering now, there are thousands of details still to manage, and their timely resolution will make the difference between average Games and great Games. The Rio 2016 team is ready to rise to this challenge and deliver Olympic and Paralympic Games that will reflect Brazilians’ warmth, hospitality and passion for sports. We believe that Rio 2016 will make the host nation proud.”

Rio 2016 President Carlos Arthur Nuzman said support from the IOC and international federations “has helped us a lot” during what he described as “this difficult time for Brazil.”

“We will not be complacent in the last mile,” he said. “We know that we still have important elements to finalize before the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. We are working hard with all of our partners on each of these points and we are more confident than ever that Brazilians will deliver great Games.”

The Commission also received updates from the organizers and their partners on athlete and national Olympic Committee services, sport and international federation services, media operations, spectators, transport, marketing, technology and the Paralympic Games.