IOC pleased with Rio's preparations for 2016 Games

March 9, 2012 - 1:16 PM
Brazil 2016 Rio Games

Nawal El Moutawakel, head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission, left, and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff smile during a meeting at the Planalto palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, March 8, 2012. Members of the IOC commission visited Brazil in order to monitoring the preparations for 2016 Rio Games. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

SAO PAULO (AP) — The IOC ended its visit to Rio de Janeiro on Friday, satisfied with the city's preparations for the 2016 Olympics while stressing there is "not a second to waste."

The International Olympic Committee team met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff a day earlier and praised the support to the games from all levels of government.

"The challenge in front of the Brazilian team is an impressive one given the scale of the games project and the immovable deadline of Aug. 5, 2016," coordination commission leader Nawal El Moutawakel said in a statement. "Rio 2016 and its partners continue to deliver successfully on their commitments."

Moutawakel said organizers needed to continue to work hard despite the progress, but for now everything was working as planned leading to the first Olympics in South America.

"As we have said since Day One, there is not a second to waste," she said. "We have been reassured to see that the government support that we've seen since the bid phase remains strong, with all levels of the state continuing to work hand in hand with each other and the Rio 2016 organizing committee to deliver great Olympic Games in 2016."

Moutawakel said the meeting with Rousseff in Brasilia, the nation's capital, helped show IOC officials the importance of the games to the Brazilian people.

"With London 2012 almost upon us, it will soon be Rio's turn to be under the spotlight," she said. "It was therefore an opportune time for us to come and visit President Rousseff. She has always been a strong supporter of the Rio project and today's meeting has underlined that once again. Indeed, the importance of these Olympic Games to the Brazilian people was evident throughout our discussions."

Also meeting with Dilma were IOC executive director Gilbert Felli and IOC sports director Christophe Dubi. Rio de Janeiro state and city officials, Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and Carlos Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Olympic committee president, also were present.

Nuzman said the union of the three levels of government makes for speedier and more efficient planning.

"I am certain that Rio de Janeiro will be the greatest example of transformation of a city in the history of the Olympic Games," he said. "We are very pleased to be working with the three levels of government to make Rio an example to other cities after the 2016 Games."

The IOC's project review visit included several meetings involving its officials, city authorities and delegates of the Rio 2016 organizing committee. The IOC team also checked some Olympic venues, including the Athletes' Park, which was open to the public Wednesday.

The same day, the team participated in the announcement by Rio 2016 organizers that American architect Gil Hanse will be in charge of designing and building the Olympic golf course, the first in more than 100 years since the sport was dropped following the 1904 St. Louis Games.

The next full visit of the IOC coordination commission is June 4-6.

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