ATHENS (Reuters) - This year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be successful despite the country’s financial and political turmoil which have made final preparations harder, International Olympic Committee President (IOC) Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.
Brazil is faced with a severe economic downturn, having been awarded the Olympics with the country experiencing a financial boom back in 2009.
“It is, as you know, six months before the Olympic Games and it is the most difficult time to prepare for Games,” Bach, speaking at the Greek Olympic Committee headquarters, told reporters.
“There is one or the other minor thing to do, and of course it is the same for other countries, and it is the same for the Brazilians.”
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, who could face impeachment, is also dealing with the country’s largest-ever corruption scandal which has ensnared dozens of politicians, many of whom are aligned with her Workers’ Party, and involves state oil firm Petrobras.
Rio Olympics organizers are also scrambling to slim down and save money as Brazil is suffering from its worst economic crisis in decades, with the economy shrinking last year and expected to do the same in 2016.
The first South American country to host the Olympics is also having to deal with the mosquito-borne Zika virus outbreak.
“But if you consider the circumstances that our Brazilian friends are working under -- with their country in a situation of crisis -- ...you can look forward to the opening of the stadium and to be overwhelmed by the passion of our Brazilian hosts,” Bach said.
“You will experience Games with a great joy for life and passion for sport.”
The Rio Olympics open on Aug. 5 and run to Aug. 21
Editing by Ed Osmond