World Cup will inspire Rio Olympics: IOC's Bach

Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:56pm EDT
 
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By Michael Hann

GLASGOW (Reuters) - Rio de Janeiro will host a successful Olympic Games in 2016 after the World Cup showed Brazil can cope with staging the biggest sporting events, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.

"I think the success of the organization of the World Cup helped, and will help, the organization of the Games,” Bach told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

"I could really feel this during my visit there for the final weekend of the World Cup. It was much more confident and optimistic. Brazil realized that it can deliver."

Preparations for Rio 2016 were called the "worst ever" by IOC vice-president John Coates in April, but Bach, elected to his position in September, said progress was being made before the first Olympic Games to be held in South America.

"Since the last meeting with the organizing committee in March, you can feel, not only feel, you can see the commitment and the determination coming from the top of the government,” said German Bach, a 1976 Olympic champion in fencing.

"They were extremely clear by saying that from the Monday after the World Cup the Games would be top priority.

"But it does not mean that you can lean back. There is still a lot to do, but I think we can be really confident that we will have a great Games, with all the Brazilian enthusiasm and joy of life."

With FIFA yet to decide whether to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the summer or winter, the 60-year-old Bach is certain the tournament will not clash with the Winter Olympic Games in the same year.   Continued...

 
President of Brazil's Olympic Committee Carlos Arthur Nuzman (L) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach are seen arriving at the Planalto Palace before a meeting with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (not pictured) in Brasilia July 11, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino