There have been many questions on how prepared Rio will be to host the Olympics. The concern was so great that in April many countries’ sporting federations were not only encouraging, but pushing the IOC to have plan B in the works.
At the time IOC President Thomas Bach assured everyone that the IOC shared their concerns and that action would be taken to ensure that Rio was prepared to host the Olympics.
Even with that assurance appropriate action was not taken and in May IOC Vice-President John Coates told the London Evening Standard that the preparation for the Games was the worst he had ever experienced. In response to the situation he announced that the IOC had put together a special task force to speed up the preparation process as well as stating that London could be used as a practical plan B.
It appears that the action the IOC took has made a difference, as seven months later there are very positive signs that the country and city are back on track.
The ICO Coordination Committee (CoCom) visited the city for the seventh time this week and announced it was satisfied with the progress they have seen.
Coordination Commission Chair Nawal El Moutawakel said: “We leave Rio satisfied with the progress that has been made since our visit last March. The strong commitment of the Brazilian authorities to the success of the Rio 2016 Games has been underlined by the presence of President Dilma Rousseff during our visit to the Olympic Park.”
“We remain confident that, despite a very tight schedule, our Brazilian partners will deliver successful Games.”
During their visit the commission saw the Olympic Golf Course, Olympic and Paralympic Village, Deodoro Olympic Park and Barra Olympic Park.
“As we enter the final two years of preparations, we are able to see that the core works are progressing at full speed, particularly in venue construction, where we have been receiving solid development reports,” said El Moutawakel.
“We were able to see first-hand the advancements being made. Rio 2016 has begun to engage in earnest with the public this winter and we were able to take stock of what has already been done. We were pleased to hear that this engagement will continue with upcoming events like ticket sign-up, the mascot launch, the Cultural Olympiad and test events.”
The Rio Organizing Committee also reassured the IOC that the legacy of the Games would be a powerful one. The legacy is planned to include public transport usage rising from 12% today to 60% by 2016; a seven-fold increase in treated sewage around Guanabara Bay by 2015; one million people having the opportunity to learn a second language thanks to the Games; 75 new hotels being built and the creation of an estimated 11,000 new jobs.
That is if the organizing committee and government keep the preparation moving in a positive and productive direction.
“Our commitment to our mission of organizing excellent Games with memorable celebrations remains intact,” said Carlos Nuzman, President of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee.
“With the IOC’s guidance and the help of our sponsors, we have the confidence we need. It is very rewarding when we look around and see our partners from the city, state and federal governments building the Games with us.”
The Organizing Committee also published a report on the progress of the construction of the Olympic venues. Bara Olympic Park, which will host 24 sports as well as the media facilities, is taking shape and is scheduled to be completed well before the Games, “Significant progress has been made and we are happy to see that work is proceeding as planned, and in some cases, is ahead of schedule,” said Alexandre Techima, Rio 2016’s Infrastructure Integration Director.
“Venue construction has progressed a lot over the past few months and the structures of a number of arenas are already visible, such as the Carioca Arenas and the Olympic Tennis Centre, as well as the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC), Main Press Centre (MPC) and hotel.”
The renovations to both Rio Olympic Arena and Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre are scheduled to begin in 2015.
As long as they stay on track Rio will not join Rome (1908) and Denver (1976) as cities that have had the Olympics taken away from them due to complications in the planning process.