IOC vice president: Rio can deliver excellent Olympics

John Coates

International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates expressed confidence in Rio de Janeiro’s preparations for the 2016 Olympics after receiving an update from an IOC official in the Brazilian city on Wednesday.

“I want to underline that I still believe that Rio Organizing Committee and the people of Brazil can indeed deliver excellent Games in 2016,” Coates said in a statement. “Time is of the essence, but things are moving in the right direction.”

Coates, who is also the Australian Olympic Committee president, said Tuesday that preparations for the 2016 Olympics were “the worst I have experienced” and “they are not ready in many, many ways.”

Coates has visited Rio six times as part of the IOC’s Coordination Commission that oversees a host city’s prep work.

Coates said he was in contact with IOC executive director Gilbert Felli on Wednesday. Felli is leading a task force in Rio after the IOC said last month there was a “necessary sense of urgency shared by all” in preparing for the first South American Games after construction delays, the resignation of a top official, political and communication issues and a workers’ strike.

“[Felli] has provided me with a positive update of progress and the support and positive response he is receiving from the Organizing Committee,” Coates said. “Rio 2016 is addressing the specific concerns of the 17 international federations that were raised with the organizers at a meeting in Turkey in April regarding their venues and the progress overall.”

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