(ATR) Today marks 200 days until the 2016 Olympics.
With less than seven months to go until the Games officially open, Rio faces a tight schedule to finalize Olympic preparations.
Construction on venues in Deodoro and the Olympic Park must be completed, and 24 test events must still be held. In addition, the Olympic torch relay will begin in April in Greece before embarking around Brazil on May 3 in Brasilia.
The current economic climate has created an aura of uncertainty, although Games organizersremain confidentin the face of budget cuts and tighter timelines. Two venues, the tennis center and velodrome, were the latest venues to show hiccups in construction timelines, and the metro line 4 will be finalized just before the Games begin.
International federations are set to meet in early February in Lausanne to discuss the impact budget cuts have on the Games for each sport.
IOC member Nawal El Moutawakel and Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi visited Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 13-14 as part of a project review before the final Coordination Commission meeting in April.
They reported progress from organizers.
"We feel positive about the work completed by the Rio 2016 team since our visit last November," El Moutawakel said to ATR. "As always at this stage in preparations, there are millions of details and deadlines that need to be met in order to deliver successful Games. This will require rigorous and timely delivery of all remaining elements of preparations necessitating continued team work and integration from Rio 2016 its partners.
Tickets will continue to be sold, with reported half of domestic tickets still available to be purchased. Organizers say spectators will purchase their tickets at the last minute, like was done ahead of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio.
CDC Issues Travel Warning
The Center for Disease Control in the United States has issued a travel advisory for pregnant women travelling to Brazil due to the Zika virus.
Zika is a mosquito-transmitted disease that has caused birth defects in newborn children, that has been found in tropical countries including Brazil.
In addition to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela were named in the advisory.
A level 2 advisory, encouraging "enhanced precautions" for travelers visiting the above countries has been issued. The CDC says on their website about the virus that women who are pregnant should protect themselves against mosquito bites and discuss the risks of Zika with their doctors before travel.
In the past year eight cases of Zika have been found in the United States, with tests continuing on some returning travelers. The high season for mosquitoes is April according to Brazilian health officials, although officials say that the country is fighting the disease to prepare for an influx of tourists arriving for the 2016 Olympics in August.
Henrique Alves, tourism minister in Brazil, told the New York Times there was no doubt in his mind pregnant women would be safe when travelling to Rio during the Games.
No Mamba in Rio
Kobe Bryant will not compete for a third gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
The basketball star said he would not delay his impending retirement to seek a third Olympic medal. He featured for both the 2008 and 2012 United States Olympic basketball teams winning gold in both tournaments.
Bryant is playing his twentieth and final season in the National Basketball Association, where he is the third all time leading scorer for the league.
"I've been fortunate enough to win two gold medals, so I've had my moment," Bryant said to ESPN.
"I think it's important for them to go ahead and play. I'll watch from afar, support from afar. If they want me to come down and speak to the guys, I will, but that's about it."
Homepage photo: Getty Images
Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro
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