Huge queues and angry fans mar the start of Rio Games
By Karolos Grohmann
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The Rio Olympic Games got off to a shambolic start on Saturday as fans queued for hours at security checkpoints to enter venues, with some missing their events and many athletes competing in front of eerily empty stands.
Games organizers apologized for dropping the ball on the first day of full competition, the morning after a dazzling opening ceremony, as iconic venues such as beach volleyball on the famed Copacabana beach saw only a few hundred spectators.
Outside, lines stretched for several blocks as angry fans stood in full sun, waiting as security staff struggled.
"We apologize for everybody standing in line outside the venues," Games spokesman Mario Andrada told reporters.
"We need to upgrade that part of the Games. We moved people from Rio 2016 (organization) to speed up the mag and bag (security checks) and within the next hours we will be in much better shape."
He said he hoped no fan had missed competitions they had bought tickets for, but many Brazilians were left fuming.
"I don't believe it. It's absurd, ridiculous," said Rio resident Natalia Carvalho, 28, who had wanted to see Brazilian gymnast and medal hopeful Arthur Zanetti compete.
Instead she entered the stadium only after he had finished his rings presentation with thousands more waiting to enter the Olympic park, site of several venues. Continued...