RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Sebastian Coe has several messages for Carlos Nuzman, his counterpart heading up the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Visiting Olympic construction sites Tuesday, the head of the 2012 London Olympics warned that the games will draw lots of attention — some of it unwanted.
And even the best organized Olympics like London or Beijing in 2008 require last-minute work. Rio has already been criticized for delays with questions about costs, legacy and planning.
"We were still mowing lawns in the Olympic village the day before the opening ceremony," Coe said. "These will be fantastic games, but don't be surprised that this is a challenge."
Nuzman and Rio organizers have been under pressure to speed construction. They've acknowledged getting off to a late start after being awarded the games in 2009, and have yet to present an operating budget — the budget to operate the game themselves.
The original bid document called for an operating budget of $2.8 billion, but the number is expected to rise to $3.5 billion to $4 billion.
Nuzman has taken much of the criticism.
Brazilian media have questioned why he's both the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, and the head of the local organizing committee. They have also wondered about his long tenure at the head of the BOC.
Last month at an IOC meeting in Buenos Aires, Nuzman was sharply questioned about preparations by fellow IOC member Kevan Gosper of Australia.
"He asked to have more communication, and we agreed," Nuzman said.
Asked Tuesday if preparations were on schedule, Nuzman replied: "Yes."
He said former IOC President Jacques Rogge tacitly approved that he handle both positions — unprecedented in recent Olympics.
"The day after we won to host the Olympic Games, I met with the IOC presidentand asked him what was his opinion about keeping both hats or not," Nuzman said.