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One Year Before Rio Olympics, Shaky Preparations Raise Social Questions and Calls for Accountability

LADB Article ID: 79763
Category/Department: Brazil
Date: 2015-09-11
By: Gregory Scruggs

On Aug. 5, the one-year countdown began toward the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the first Olympics ever to be held in South America. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach marked the occasion in a gala ceremony in Rio. In a briefing with the press, Paes admitted to worrying about the city’s preparation but mounted a strong defense that Rio would reach the finish line. Bach affirmed that there is "still pressure" on the Rio 2016 Committee to deliver the venues as promised, while Rousseff declared, "Rio will be the most beautiful setting for the Olympics since ancient Greece." . Comparisons with Rio’s predecessor, London, have revealed the extent to which the Brazilian host city lags behind in percentage of venues complete. Government watchdog agencies have requested a full accounting of expenditures thus far because of cost-overrun fears. Recent test events have highlighted public health concerns in the waterways hosting aquatic and sailing events, as well as at the equestrian center.

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