The absence of televisions in the athletes’ village, as well as a reduction of grandstand seats at the Olympic rowing venue top the latest laundry list of cut-backs Rio organizers are forced to take to contain the 2016 Olympic Games budget.
We reported back in September how the competitive swimming venue saw its seating capacity reduced and now the rowing venue is slated to have 4,000 temporary grandstand seats eliminated from plans.
Of the news, U.S. Rowing Executive Director Matt Smith commented “I’ve been around since Los Angeles in 1984 and we haven’t been in such a situation where a country that is staging the games is in such a vulnerable situation.”
Previous steps taken to reduce the overall budget include slashing the number of volunteers from 70,000 to 60,000. Additionally, Rio organizers informed the public not to expect as grandiose a show as has been seen in recent Olympics in terms of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as those of the 2016 Games will most likely be ten times smaller than the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.
Last month, Rio 2016 went so far as to initially cut the air conditioning within the athletes’ village, causing public outcry in response to the controversial decision. Just days later the decision was rescinded, returning the comfort to the approximate 10,500 athletes.
But, another ‘luxury’ made its way onto the chopping block in its place, as the village will be without televisions in athletes’ rooms.
Says Olympic Games Executive Director Christopher Dubi, “We are looking into each and every budget item. I think this is setting a new benchmark. The result is heading in the right direction. They (organizers) have found efficiencies, and I wouldn’t call it cuts.”
“No one is saying that the Olympic experience will be affected. On the contrary, Rio will be magic,” Dubi said.
Acknowledging the current economic climate of the Brazilian currency and inflation, as well as well as a corruption scandal involving the state-run oil company Petrobas leading to Brazilian President impeachment proceedings, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes stressed the necessity of cost-cutting.
“Come on, we are not China, we are not England,” he said this week. “We are not a rich country. So, every time I can cut some of the budget for Olympics — we will do it. This is not going to be the Olympics of wasting money.”