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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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Swim meet canceled after FINA’s threat to ban athletes

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GENEVA (AP) — Amid growing conflict between swimmers and their world governing body, an international swimming meet was canceled on Thursday after threats to ban athletes who took part seeking better prize money.

The Italian swim federation called off the Dec. 20-21 competition it was organizing in Turin, saying it acted to protect athletes from FINA.

The Turin meet was linked to a proposed International Swimming League, a privately run operation which aims to operate outside FINA’s control and pay higher prize money.

“FINA declared the event ‘non-approved,’ threatening sanctions against the participating athletes,” Italian officials said in a statement.

FINA, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some Olympic champions have long criticized FINA, believing swimmers should be better rewarded, have more say in decisions, and could create their own union.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty of Britain wrote on Thursday on Twitter he was “incredibly disappointed” by the cancellation.

The politics involved will “galvanize swimmers, not break them,” wrote Peaty, who holds 50m and 100m breaststroke world records.

Peaty has previously supported Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu in her public criticism of FINA, and calls to create a swimmers’ union.

Italian organizers said Peaty, Hosszu and other Olympic champions including Chad le Clos of South Africa and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden were due to take part in their 25-meter pool event. It was scheduled days after the short-course world championships being staged in Hangzhou, China.

The clash of events seemed to provoke FINA into finding more prize money for its worlds event in the smaller pool.

On Nov. 6, FINA added to its promised prize fund for China by almost doubling the total to $2.07 million.

FINA wrote to member federations on Oct. 30 warning of bans of up to two years for taking part in Turin.

However, a European Commission decision last year suggests swimmers could successfully challenge any attempt to limit their right to race and earn money.

The European Union’s executive arm ruled the International Staking Union in breach of anti-trust laws by threatening severe bans for speed skaters who wanted to compete in a South Korean-organized event in Dubai.

The ISU’s threats “also serve to protect its own commercial interests,” the European officials said.

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Simon Ammann believes ski jumping career end is near

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Simon Ammann, the most decorated active ski jumper with four Olympic gold medals, said it is hard to imagine competing beyond this season, according to Swiss newspaper Blick.

Ammann, 37, swept the individual Olympic titles in 2002 and 2010 to join retired Finn Matti Nykänen as the only four-time Olympic ski jumping champs.

In PyeongChang, his sixth Olympics, Ammann placed 11th and 13th, one month after making his first World Cup podium in nearly three years. He decided after those Winter Games that he would continue at least one more season, but has no plan to go all the way to a seventh Olympics in 2022, according to Blick.

Ammann has teased retirement since at least 2011 and even said going into the 2014 Sochi Olympics that he was “99 percent sure” they would be his final Games.

The now-father of two first gained crossover celebrity with his surprise Salt Lake City 2002 gold medals, his first wins in top-level international competition. The bespectacled Ammann’s victory screams and resemblance to Harry Potter helped land him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and one of Europe’s biggest shows, sitting next to Shakira.

Fellow ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan holds the Winter Olympic record of eight appearances. Kasai, 46, has said he plans to go for a ninth participation at Beijing 2022.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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