Brazil acting president, IOC head inspect Olympic Park
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP):
Brazil's interim president and the head of the International Olympic Committee reiterated Tuesday their confidence Rio de Janeiro will manage to host a successful games in fewer than two months' time, despite the litany of problems besetting the country.
Speaking to journalists during a chaotic visit to the Olympic Park, which saw the two men tour the facilities separately, interim President Michel Temer and IOC president Thomas Bach shrugged off questions about Brazil's ability to play host to the mega sporting event amid the worst recession in decades, an outbreak of the Zika virus, and the ongoing political crisis that saw former Vice-President Temer temporarily replace President Dilma Rousseff after she was suspended.
The visit was Temer's first to the Olympic Park, in Rio's western Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood, since assuming the presidency, and it is expected to be Bach's final visit ahead of the August 5-21 games, which have also seen lacklustre ticket sales and worries about the readiness of a promised and crucial metro extension as well as the velodrome.
The two men toured the grounds separately, with Temer flanked by Rio's telegenic mayor, Eduardo Paes, who's widely seen as a rising star in Temer's Democratic Movement, or PMDB, party, and both groups beset by hordes of journalists.
The 75-year-old leader pledged that the financial crisis that has hit Rio state's coffers particularly hard wouldn't affect the games, adding that the national government would step in with additional funding, if needed.
"We will all collaborate, not just with words, but in meeting the financial needs," he said, adding, "We will do that with the absolute conviction that we are creating something extraordinary for Brazil and for the world."