Rio de Janeiro Olympic Preparations Are the 'Worst'

By Jon Ackerman
Wednesday April 30th, 2014 3:55 pm EDT

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More than three months ago, Gil Hanse, the renowned designer of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic golf course, said the first quarter of 2014 would be crucial in keeping the construction of the course on track.

"If all goes well," Hanse told CNN in January, "we'll have water flying sometime in March and we'll start putting grass on the ground then."

It's the end of April, and the golf course reportedly has no grass. So the International Golf Federation has drawn up a new schedule, according to Golfweek, and hopes to stage a test event late next year or early in 2016. 

"I think that everyone knows that the amount of facility being applied to building the golf course has got to be increased to make the deadlines, and that's what's happening," said Peter Dawson, president of the International Golf Federation. "We have a new schedule which will get it done in time, but things have been slow and we do need this acceleration to make it happen."

Rio Olympic course Nov 2013 600px

An aerial view of the Rio Olympic golf course on Nov. 9, 2013.

The same can be said for numerous other Olympic venues as well. John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, says that construction has hardly begun on a sports complex that will hold 11 Olympic events. In fact, Coates calls Rio's preparations "the worst I have experienced."

"We've become very concerned, to be quite frank," Coates told reporters in Melbourne. "They really are not ready in many, many ways."

According to Coates, who has made six visits to Rio to monitor the progress, things are worse now than they were leading up to the 2004 Athens Games, which experienced countless delays and failed to even finish some projects, despite going over budget by an estimated $1 billion. But the Games will go on in Rio, one way or another.

"There can be no Plan B; we are going to Rio," Coates said. "We've just got to make sure that we help the organizing committee deliver Games that will enable our athletes, the athletes of the world, to perform to the best of their ability."

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