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Rio Olympics 2016: IOC Chief says this year's Olympics is the "most difficult ever"

The IOC has come clean about the difficulties it faced while organising Rio 2016.

News 11 Aug 2016, 18:52 IST
John Coates
John Coates was concerned with the political unrest in Brazil

Even before the Games began, immediately after the end of the FIFA World Cup, questions were raised as to whether Brazil was a viable option to host multiple large scale events with so little breathing space. The IOC chief John Coates has since spoken out on the matter after the first week of Rio 2016 is almost at an end. Coates admits that this edition of the Olympics has been “one of the most difficult games ever.”

Speaking to a BBC correspondent, John Coates said, "It's been very difficult, the most difficult Games we have ever encountered in terms of political and economic background.” 

Also read: Rio Olympics 2016: IOC chief confident Games safe for athletes despite pollution concerns

After Dilma Rousseff was suspended in a Brazillian House session following charges of corruption, there were calls for her immediate impeachment. Rousseff was not available at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.

Michel Temer, who took over the Senate in May earlier this year, was present in her stead. One would think that this political coup might have a peaceful ending but that hardly seems to be the case as Temer has proved himself to be largely unpopular among the average masses of the country.

Apart from this, Brazil's economy has cumulatively gone down over the past few years. John Coates is well aware of this as he cited Brazil's economic condition as the second reason as to why organizing Rio 2016 has been problematic.

“Seven years ago when (Rio) were selected they were on the verge of being a top five GDP (Gross Domestic Product) nation in the world. They're 74th now and it's been a struggle,” he said.

“It has been a struggle because of the financial issues, the support required from all levels of the government is there now from the National and the State Government. If it was not for city and Eduardo Paes, these games would not have happened,” he added. Eduardo Paes, of course, is the Mayor of Rio.

On being asked whether most of the arrangements were made in the final days leading up to Rio and whether that led to some shoddy work, Coates replied, “They say that is the Brazillian way but that is not the way we applied ourselves previously. The IOC cannot afford to leave things to the last moment. Our reputation is on the line.”

Also read: Rio Olympics 2016: Brazil's political unrest won't hamper Olympic preparations, claims IOC

The final run-up to the games was controversy-ridden with economic experts from the world criticizing the unnecessary extravagance that these Games undoubtedly are and whether Brazil is capable of coping with the losses it will inevitably sustain. Coates, however, seems satisfied with the way the games are progressing.

“The Opening Ceremony seemed to be quite good. The level of Sports and the Broadcasting has been very good,” he said.

All is not good. With an outbreak of Zika, the crowd that Rio was expected to attract has taken a serious hit. Top athletes have since pulled out from the Games and the money the IOC is expected to make out of the Championships is quite less that what was originally projected.

The entire issue raises serious concerns over the functioning of the IOC and the rising expenses of commodities in general.

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