While open water athletes have already had to contend with recent reports that Rio’s water pollution problem is only growing, now those who want to see pool swimming have a problem of their own. According to a report from Globo Esporte, construction required the installation of massive steel support pillars that will create blind spots at the corner of the stadium.
The result will be a reduction of 1,250 seats to the venue. Such a blow might have been mitigated had the seating capacity for Rio not already been considered too low by Olympic standards. The reduction takes the aquatic venue’s capacity from 13,750 to 12,500. London’s aquatic venue seated nearly one and a half times that amount at 17,500. One has to return to the similarly plagued venues of Athens in 2004 to find a similar capacity (11,500).
Within Brazil, where focus is on the economic impact of the games, the story is similarly negative. The installation of the support pillars mean that the Olympic Aquatics Stadium will now have a cost overrun of 10.5 million real (2.8 million dollars). Likewise, the lost ticket revenue from the reduced capacity will be roughly the same amount (10.6 million real).
The venue is also controversial within Brazil because organizers have said it will be temporary and thus far there are no plans to reuse the pool at another location, as the US has with it’s Olympic trials pools the last few cycles.