Rio 2016 says some venues are ready
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Organizers of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, criticized over delays with the games just over two years away, said on Thursday several venues were ready.
In a statement, organizers said 11 of the 29 permanent venues were built, eight required renovation, and 10 more needed to be built. Eight temporary venues will also be used.
Last month, International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates called Rio's preparations "the worst I have experienced." He later backtracked and said Brazil would deliver great games.
Soon after, the IOC sent a senior troubleshooter and task forces to speed up Rio preparations. About $17 billion is being spent on the Olympics,l with the costs expected to rise.
Many of the new venues are under construction in the Olympic Park area west of central Rio. Work at the second largest venue cluster in Deodoro in north Rio has not begun.
Among the venues already completed are five football stadiums, a basketball arena that was built a decade ago, and a volleyball venue next to Maracana.
Although little seems to have been done at the Olympic Park, officials said work was progressing after a several-weeks strike.
Officials said the Olympic golf course site in western Rio was being irrigated to "allow grass planting to begin."
Rio also faces major problems with water quality in the severely polluted Guanabara Bay, the venue for sailing. Sailors in an event in Rio six months ago said the bay was the dirtiest body of water in which they had ever competed.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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