Rio showing dynamism, World Cup a confidence boost

Tue Sep 9, 2014 5:16am EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Rio de Janeiro's 2016 Olympic preparations are in full swing with organizers having rediscovered their dynamism after years of delays and the soccer World Cup boosting their confidence, IOC President Thomas Bach said on Tuesday.

Branded as the 'worst preparations ever by' International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates in April, work for the Rio Games was now much more coordinated, said Bach, adding his colleague has since revised his statements.

"Rio has made great progress in the last couple of months," Bach told Reuters in an interview a day before his one-year anniversary since taking over the IOC top job.

"You have seen the mayor and governor taking more responsibility and showing great dynamism and working closely with the organizing committee."

Bach, a German lawyer and former Olympic champion fencer, took over from Jacques Rogge on Sept. 10, 2013 and was immediately thrown into the deep end, trying to speed up preparations for the first summer Games under his watch.

Rio organizers and government officials had until recently been criticized for failing to coordinate work and responsibility efficiently, leading to years of delays in almost every major project for the Games, including the Deodoro park which will host several sports.

The June/July soccer World Cup, which many feared could be faced with transportation, infrastructure and security issues due partly to similar delays in construction and organization as the Olympics, was a successful event with no major problems and was hailed as one of the best ever World Cup.


International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu province August 28, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song