Bach expresses 'full confidence' in Rio Olympics

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 21, 2014 at 2:53 pm •  Published: January 21, 2014

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach met Tuesday with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and said he feels "very confident" in the preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

But Bach acknowledged once again that Brazil has no time to lose and must speed up work for the first Olympics in South America.

Rio's preparations have been plagued by delays, the late approval of an operating budget and concerns about water pollution in Olympic venues for sailing, canoeing, rowing, and distance swimming.

IOC members have talked openly about their worries and have constantly urged Rio organizers to move faster.

"We are very confident," Bach said after talks with Rousseff in Brasilia. "We've seen great progress in the last couple of months. The organizing committee has worked extremely well. But on the other hand, the president (Rousseff) also made it clear that time is key and we don't have any day to lose."

Bach is making his first visit to Brazil since being elected president of the International Olympic Committee in September.

"I came here in full confidence that these Olympic Games will be exciting and brilliant Olympic Games," Bach said. "After this meeting I can inform you that my confidence is even stronger now because I'm really greatly impressed by the strong commitment of the president to these games and by the leadership she's showing."

The German was upbeat after meeting with Rousseff and said the Olympics would make Rio an even better city.

"I'm sure that after these Olympic Games the people of Rio and the people of Brazil will say — like for instance the people of Barcelona or the people of Munich — there is a Rio de Janeiro before the Olympic Games, and there is an even better city — if in Rio de Janeiro's case that is possible — there is an even better city after the Olympic Games."