February 18, 2018 / 8:12 AM / 9 months ago

Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games legacy incomplete, says IOC

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Some venues for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic are decaying as Brazil has so far fallen short of its own legacy plans for sports facilities, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Sunday.

2016 Rio Olympics - Closing ceremony - Maracana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/08/2016. The Olympics rings are seen as fireworks explode during the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

In a surprisingly frank comment, the Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi admitted plans for the post-Games use for several venues, including the aquatics centre in the Olympic park, had largely remained on paper.

“A very well planned legacy that did not materialise in full,” Dubi told reporters.

He said while the city had benefitted from the post-Games use of what he said was an improved transportation and telecommunication systems, some sports venues were standing idle.

“Dismantle the venues,” Dubi said of temporary structures that were supposed to be moved away from the park in Barra de Tijuca after the 16-day competition in 2016.

“It has not happened because of the political landscape, because of the social and economic situation.”

Brazil was experiencing near double-digit annual growth when it was awarded the first Olympics in South America back in 2009. But when the Games came round in 2016 the country was in its worst recession in decades and locked in a maelstrom of political uncertainty.

Crime has also spiked with deadly violence in Rio up in recent years, with an eight percent increase in killings last year over 2016 and a 26 percent jump since 2015, according to statistics from the Rio state government.

“The legacy is still not perfect,” Dubi said. “They (venues) need to be dismantled. These are not venues designed and built to last. I hope the city and government will do the right thing and dismantle those venues that were not built to last.”

To add to Rio’s woes, Games chief Carlos Nuzman, a long-time former IOC member, is to stand trial for his role in a corruption case involving alleged bribery in Rio’s successful bid to host the Games. Nuzman, who faces racketeering and money laundering charges among other, has denied wrongdoing.

Police raided his home and seized gold bars, computers as well as a Russian passport among other items.

The iconic Maracana football stadium has been looted after the Games, with seats ripped out, while the entire Olympic park remains shut for much of the 18 months since the Games.

The velodrome has been damaged by two fires, the most recent one in November last year.

In August 2017 IOC President Thomas Bach had urged to give Brazil more time to implement legacy plans due to the country’s political and economic woes.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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