Games preparation chaos hopefully a one-off event : IOC
Send a link to a friend
[August 05, 2016]
By Karolos Grohmann
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The troubled
preparations for the Rio Olympics proved that the model for the
Games could withstand the toughest challenges but the IOC hoped it
would not have to face such a stress test again, president Thomas
Bach said on Thursday.
Speaking on the eve of the opening ceremony, Bach said organizers
and the International Olympic Committee had braved and survived
Brazil's economic meltdown and political turmoil.
"If this financial model of the Olympic Games withstands a stress
test like in Brazil then you can see that this model is more than
robust," Bach told reporters. "The crisis the country is in is maybe
the worst crisis in the history of Brazil.
"These were not always easy times, not even now. Therefore I think
we can say very clearly the financial model of the Games has really
stood a stress test which I hope we will not have to withstand in
the future again."
When Rio was awarded the Olympics in 2009 the country was enjoying a
financial boom with near double-digit annual growth.
Yet only a few years later organizers had run out of cash and the
state of Rio had suffered a financial catastrophe as the country
slipped into its worst recession since the 1930s.
The IOC then had to pay out part of its financial contribution to
the organizers in advance so they could complete preparations that
were running dangerously late.
On a political level President Dilma Rousseff was suspended pending
an impeachment trial for corruption with interim President Michel
Temer taking over just months before the country hosted the biggest
multi-sports event in the world.
[to top of second column]
IOC president Thomas Bach speaks during his press conference at the
Main Press Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Instead of basking in the glory of successfully organizing the first
Olympics in South America, organizers were struggling to get the
event ready in time.
"There were huge, huge challenges," Bach said. "Nevertheless you see
this country... has managed to transform a city and put the Olympic
Games on the stage."
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.