Rio sailing ramp expected to be fixed just in time for Games to start
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A launching ramp that collapsed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic sailing venue is to be back in service on Friday—he day the games open and three days before sailing begins.
The head of World Sailing, the sport's governing body, knows he's cutting it close.
''If it was absolutely necessary, we could still carry on the competition,'' Andy Hunt told The Associated Press on Monday. ''But it would just be logistically very difficult.''
The ramp partially collapsed on Saturday, adding to a list of problems in the host city that includes the Zika virus, water pollution and slow ticket sales. Local organizers blamed high tides and acknowledged design flaws.
''That ramp was maybe a bit too big,'' Andrada told AP. Andrade said the rebuilt ramp will be slightly smaller.
On Monday, a half dozen shipyard workers were standing on top of the part of the ramp that survived the waves. Next to them, a crane held the damaged metal structure from sinking further.
Sailors training at the Marina da Gloria used a second ramp at the venue, which is made of concrete and around three times smaller than the one built for the competition.
''It's unusual to see this. Something happened. It wasn't constructed properly,'' said Erik Stibbe, a Canadian coach.
Rio has faced criticism for shoddy construction since April, when a bike path that was hailed as a top legacy project of the Olympics collapsed, killing two people.
In another incident caused by strong winds in Rio over the weekend, water flooded TV studios on Copacabana Beach near the volleyball arena. Iron boards were used to block the waves.
Australia's delegation refused to move into the Olympic Village on the official opening day a week ago, citing electrical problems, gas and water leaks among other issues in the building. Athletes finally checked in on Wednesday, and then a small fire broke out on Friday, forcing an evacuation. There were no injuries.
Associated Press Sports Writer Stephen Wade contributed to this report.