John Coates claims he is confident Rio 2016 will “deliver excellent Games” following reassurances from officials in Brazil and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they are doing everything to ensure that recent problems are overcome.
The IOC vice-president, who has visited Rio de Janeiro as a member of the Coordination Commission, had on Tuesday (April 29) described preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics as “the worst I have experienced”.
But the IOC claimed yesterday they did not want “to engage in discussion of the past” and they “continue to believe that Rio is capable of providing outstanding Games”.
That led to Coates, who is also President of the Australian Olympic Committee, softening his stance.
“I want to underline that I still believe that Rio Organising Committee and the people of Brazil can indeed deliver excellent Games in 2016,” he said.
“The IOC, working with our partners in Rio, recently took a number of measures designed to make sure that we can together deliver a great Games, and just as important, a lasting legacy for the people of Rio and Brazil.
“I want to also report that I have been in contact today with our Executive Director, Gilbert Felli, who is heading up the IOC Taskforce in Rio and he has provided me with a positive update of progress and the support and positive response he is receiving from the Organising Committee.
“Time is of the essence but things are moving in the right direction.
“Rio 2016 is addressing the specific concerns of the 17 International Federations that were raised with the organisers at a meeting in Turkey in April regarding their venues and the progress overall.”
He added: “Mr Felli and the organisers have developed a clear time table for work to be undertaken between now and the next meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission which will be held at the end of September.
“We are all buoyed by the positive response of the City Mayor Eduardo Paes and the Rio organisers today.
“Like him we all believe that the Games can and must ‘engage with society’.
“And I am heartened that the Organising Committee is confident that ‘Rio will host excellent Games that will be delivered absolutely within the agreed timelines and budgets.’
“The Mayor, Brazilian Government and Organising Committee all have our full support and as I said yesterday there is no plan B.
“We have to make this happen by working together over the next two years.”