IOC vice president Coates happy with Rio Games progress
SYDNEY (AP) Two years after John Coates called delayed preparations for the Rio de Janeiro Games ''the worst I have experienced,'' the International Olympic Committee vice-president said Saturday that he's impressed with the progress organizers have made with 90 days until the games begin.
Coates, also president of the Australian Olympic Committee, was in Brazil in early April for the last IOC coordination commission meeting, accompanied by Australian team chef de mission Kitty Chiller.
''We were both impressed with the positive progress made over recent months, particularly in the two main clusters of Barra Olympic Park and Deodoro Olympic Park,'' Coates said Saturday at the AOC's annual general meeting.
''Our conclusion following the recent coordination commission meeting was, and remains, that the Rio 2016 ... and its partners are ready to rise to the challenges and deliver Olympic and Paralympic Games that will reflect the Brazilians' warmth, hospitality and passion for sport."
In April 2014, Coates, who had then made six trips to Brazil, said the local organizers were behind schedule ''in many, many ways'' and were in worse shape than Greek organizers were in preparing for the 2004 Olympics.
Coates said Saturday the core building blocks in Rio were in place, but some important work remained to be completed.
''The construction of permanent venues is 98 percent finished, but with overlay installations and many field-of-play items (installation of equipment) to complete and maintain,'' Coates said in a statement. ''A lot of hard work in these areas remains before the Games can be delivered.''