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Rio Olympics cost $13.1 billion

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — An analysis by The Associated Press shows that the cost of putting on the Rio Olympics was $13.1 billion, paid for with a mix of public and private money.

Officials of Brazil’s Public Authority for Olympic Legacy said at a news conference Wednesday, the cost for “sports-related venues” was 7.23 billion reals ($2.06 billion). In addition, the Rio organizing committee previously said the cost of running the Games at 9 billion reals ($2.8 billion).

The Olympic legacy body did not account for other Olympic-related costs. But the AP obtained them in emailed statements from city, state and federal agencies.

Those costs were 26.385 billion reals ($8.2 billion) for, among other things, a subway line, a doping laboratory, a renovated port and cleanup of polluted Guanabara Bay.

The doping laboratory was paid for by the federal government and cost 163.7 million reals ($50 million). A delay-plagued subway line project that was built to connect fans to Olympic Park had a price tag of 9.7 billion reals ($2.98 billion). According to a state auditor’s report cited in August, the railway was overbilled by 25 percent.

Another legacy project, the renovation of Porto Maravilha, a run-down historic area in Rio, cost the city 10 billion reals ($4.2 billion).

“Should a country with such inequality as Brazil have hosted such an event with this level of investment,” federal prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri said. He said it would be difficult to use the Olympic venues in a way that would generate enough income to cover maintenance expenses.

“It is a challenge and we can see the difficulties,” he said. “We recognize the difficulties.”

Officials presented the report at the Olympic Park in suburban Barra da Tijuca, which now consists of mostly vacant venues. Last month a federal prosecutor said many of the venues were “white elephants” that were built with “no planning.”

The Rio Olympics, which opened 10 months ago, were plagued by countless financial and organizational problems, and were hosted as Brazil sank into its deepest recession since the 1930s.

The state of Rio de Janeiro has been months late paying teachers, hospital workers, and pensions. The state also reported record-breaking crime in 2016 in almost all categories from homicides to robbery.

The problems around the Rio Games – and the aftermath – have called into question the wisdom of cities building new venues every few years to accommodate an event that lasts just over two weeks.

Paulo Marcio, the head of the Public Authority for Olympic Legacy, talked vaguely about plans to use the venues. The Olympic Park has staged mainly small national or local events.

He did not offer any cost or income figures with most of the Olympic arenas now being operated by Brazil’s federal government. A plan to auction off the venues to private operators failed when only one bidder was reported to be interested.

“I think that in a short period of time I will be able to deliver this legacy, and we have already been successful,” he said.

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U.S. Olympians reveal they have defective Rio medals

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Kyle Snyder made history at the Rio Olympics by becoming the youngest American wrestler to win a gold medal.

The medal will soon be history as well, to be replaced by the IOC and Rio organizers because of damage.

Snyder and Helen Maroulis, another U.S. gold medalist wrestler, are among a group of more than 100 athletes from around the world with defective Olympic medals. Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings says her bronze medal from last summer is flaking and rusting.

Rio Games spokesman Mario Andrada said Friday that officials have noted problems with the covering on 6 to 7 percent of the medals.

“The most common issue is that they were dropped or mishandled, and the varnish has come off and they’ve rusted or gone black in the spot where they were damaged,” Andrada said.

Snyder, who wrestles for Ohio State, was 20 when he won his medal. He noticed an issue with his medal the day after he won it.

He went to a party at the Team USA house in Rio, where he said multiple people handled the medal as they celebrated. Snyder said he later discovered a scratch on the back of it, though he added there has been no further damage.

Snyder said he has until the end of the week to return his gold medal and has no idea when he’ll receive his replacement.

“It wasn’t too big of a deal,” Snyder said. “But since they’re giving me a new one, it’s kind of cool.”

Rio de Janeiro spent about $12 billion to organize the Games, which were plagued by cost-cutting, poor attendance and reports of bribes and corruption linked to the building of some Olympic-related facilities.

Nine months later, many of the venues are empty and have no tenants or income – with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government. In addition to the issues with the medals, which featured the Rio and Olympic logos, the local organizing committee still owes creditors about $30 million.

Greg Massialas, a national coach for the U.S. fencing team in Rio, said in a message to The Associated Press that the silver medal son Alex won is damage free. He added that he hasn’t heard about any issues with other American fencers.

U.S. shooter Ginny Thrasher and boxer Claressa Shields, along with men’s tennis bronze medalist Kei Nishikori of Japan, also reported that their gold medals are intact.

Walsh Jennings, who won three golds in previous Olympics, says her medals tend to get beaten up because she doesn’t hesitate to let people touch them or try them on. But she won’t consider locking them up because people are inspired by them.

“They’ve offered to replace them. I’m not sure if I want to swap it out,” Walsh-Jennings told the AP, adding the reason was “100 percent sentimental.”

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Rio Olympic venues ‘white elephants,’ report says

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A federal prosecutor looking into last year’s Rio Olympics says that many of the venues “are white elephants” that were built with “no planning.”

The scathing report offered Monday at a public hearing confirms what The Associated Press reported several months after the Games ended. Many of the venues are empty, boarded up, and have no tenants or income with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government.

“There was no planning,” federal prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri told the public hearing on the Olympics. “There was no planning when they put out the bid to host the Games. No planning.

“They are white elephants today,” Mitidieri added. “What we are trying to look at here is to how to turn this into something usable.”

Rio spent about $12 billion to organize the Games, which were plagued by cost-cutting, poor attendance, and reports of bribes and corruption linked to the building of some Olympic-related facilities.

The Olympic Park in suburban Barra da Tijuca, which was the largest cluster of venues, is an expanse of empty arenas with clutter still remaining from the Games. The second-largest cluster, in the northern area of Deodoro, is closed despite plans to open it as a public park with swimming facilities for the mostly poor who live in the area.

Patricia Amorim, the undersecretary for sports in the city of Rio, said highly publicized plans were on hold to dismantle one arena and turn the remains into four schools. The arena was the venue for handball.

“It will be dismantled,” she said. “We are just waiting to know whether we will actually have resources to build these schools on other sites, or whether we will dismantle it and wait for the resources to come. Our schools need to be reformed and that’s our priority, not new schools.”

Nine months after the Rio Olympics ended, the local organizing committee still owes creditors about $30 million, and 137 medals awarded during the Games are rusting and need to be repaired.

Former Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, the moving force with the International Olympic Committee behind organizing last year’s Olympics, is being investigated for allegedly accepting at least 15 million reals ($5 million) in payments to facilitate construction projects tied to the Games.

He denies any wrongdoing.

Organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada said more than 100 medals awarded at the Olympics showed signs of rusting. He said many were bronze medals, and said many of the tarnished medals had been awarded to Americans.

“Most of the problems were due to handling, poor handling,” Andrada said. “Either they fell on the floor or they were touching each other so, it was a problem of handling. Whatever was the problem with the poor handling, it took the gloss off the medal, and then you see rusting.”

He said the medals would be repaired at Brazil’s mint, called the Casa da Moeda.

He said more than 2,000 medals were awarded at the Olympics and said “several other Games had problems with medals.”

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