IOC vice president says Rio preps are "worst" ever

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm •  Published: April 29, 2014

"I think this is a worse situation than Athens," Coates said. "In Athens, we were dealing with one government and some city responsibilities. Here, there's three.

"There is bureaucracy, there is little coordination between the federal, the state government and the city — which is responsible for a lot of the construction. The flow of funds from the federal government is not happening quickly enough. We think we need to help facilitate that."

Coates, who chairs the IOC coordination commission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said he thinks the IOC has put the message across in Brazil.

"We have to make it (the Olympics) happen and that is the IOC approach, you can't walk away from this," he said. "If it comes off — the first (Olympic) Games on the South American continent, in a magical city in so many ways — it'll be a wonderful experience for the athletes."

Rio organizers responded to Coates by releasing a statement saying they know what needs to be done and are focused on delivering the games. They also cited "unequivocal signs of progress" recently in the city's preparations.

"It is time for us to focus on the work to be done and on engaging with society," the Rio committee said. "The support of the International Olympic Committee is also crucial. We have a historic mission: to organize the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil and in South America. We are going to achieve this. In 2016, Rio will host excellent games that will be delivered absolutely within the agreed timelines and budgets."

Work hasn't begun at Deodoro, a complex for eight Olympics sports venues, and the course that will host golf's return to the Olympic program for the first time in more than a century doesn't have grass yet. Water pollution is a big worry for sailing and other sports.

Concern over the delays has been building over time but hit crisis levels at the SportAccord meeting in Belek, Turkey, earlier this month.

In a rare display of unified, open criticism against an Olympic host, 18 sports federations publicly aired concerns over Rio's preparations, with some sports asking about "Plan B" contingencies.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes fired back last week at the complaints by sports federations, saying they were making too many unnecessary demands.

Paes said the federations were asking for too many "large things" that won't be used by the city after the Olympics.