Wind, doping and VIP robbery plague Rio Games

Sun Aug 7, 2016 3:28pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Karolos Grohmann and Ossian Shine

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Damaging wind gusts, a fresh doping controversy and the robbery of a visiting government minister presented the Rio Games with a perfect storm of problems on Sunday, forcing organizers to scramble to keep the world's biggest sporting event rolling on.

Winds wreaked havoc on the second full day of competition, forcing the cancellation of rowing races and delays to tennis and kayaking, while spectators ran for cover from flying signs, cafe umbrellas and other debris torn from their moorings.

Games organizers, who were already looking to fix the long queues at security checkpoints that marred the first day, also faced new security scares. Portugal's education minister was robbed at knifepoint on Saturday at the Olympic lake. He escaped unharmed and the assailant was arrested, Brazilian authorities said.

More security was also put around the equestrian center after a stray bullet tore through the roof of the press room there on Saturday, an unexplained incident which caused no injuries. The center is near a military complex and a slum.

"This is a worrying situation and is not an incident we can take lightly as the safety of everyone at our venue – athletes, horses, media and spectators – is of prime importance," said International Equestrian Federation president Ingmar De Vos.

Brazilian authorities are still investigating.

As powerful gusts swept across the host city, blowing debris and forcing spectators to find cover, the Rio Games was hit by a new Russian doping storm, this time involving the Paralympics, due to run from Sept. 7 to 18.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced in Rio it would ban Russia from the whole event due to widespread doping that it said had polluted sport in that country.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Rowing - Repechage - Men's Single Sculls Repechages - Lagoa Stadium - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. Race officials stand by in a boat shortly after competition was postponed due to high winds. REUTERS/Carlos Barria