IOC chief predicts spectacular Rio Games despite crisis

Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:45pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

LAUSANNE (Reuters) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said on Tuesday that the Rio de Janeiro Olympics would be "spectacular" and a "great success" despite a political and economic crisis gripping the host nation.

Bach's comments came after Rio's Olympic chief Carlos Nuzman brushed aside complaints over power failures and other problems revealed during a gymnastics test event.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff suffered a humiliating loss in a crucial impeachment vote in the lower house of Congress on Sunday. She is almost certain to be forced from office well before the Olympic Games open in Rio on Aug. 5.

The crisis has paralyzed the government as it struggles to revive the economy from its worst recession in decades, casting doubt on Brazil's ability to complete preparations for the event in time.

A federal prosecutor also told Reuters on Monday that a sweeping investigation into corruption in Brazil is targeting more infrastructure projects for the Olympics than previously made public.

Bach, speaking at the assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), called on the IOC to show solidarity with Brazil.

"We know the current economic and political situation in Brazil will continue to make final preparations challenging, but I'm convinced, and we are all convinced, that the Olympic Games 2016 will be truly spectacular," he said.

"The Olympic Games enjoy strong public support from the Brazilian people and the organizers can count on the solidarity of the sporting world."   Continued...

Rio 2016 Olympic Games Organising Committee President Carlos Arthur Nuzman speaks at a news conference during the IOC Coordination Commission's 10th visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares