(ATR) Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman says with one month until the Olympic Games, the city could begin the event today.
Although works will continue on temporary facilities until July 21, Nuzman told the press that the city "is ready to deliver history," and receive over 10,000 of the world’s best athletes. He shrugged off concerns that Olympic excitement has yet to reach Rio de Janeiro, even as a litany of crises continues to put a damper on the final touches for Rio 2016.
"I love challenges, and I love this situation; we will be ready when opening the Games," Nuzman said to Around the Rings. "Rio is bringing the Olympic moment to a different stage for a lot of cities in the world."
Nuzman said that it is important for Rio to host a successful Games, as it represents the opportunity to bring the Olympics to the developing world. Rio’s ability to adapt the Olympic Games to the city "shows everything is possible," for hosts on every continent.
Work remains to be done on the Olympic project, mainly in constructing temporary grandstands and support venues across the city. Last month, Rio 2016 venue management director Gustavo Nascimento said that he expected no hiccups to come fromthe now final two weeks of preparations.
In his one month to go speech, Mayor Paes decided to focus not on the next 31 days, but the legacy of the Olympics after the Games pack up and leave Rio de Janeiro. He spoke out against "pundits," traveling to Rio to do stories on the Olympics and then leaving without truly understanding how the city operates and what the Olympic benefits are.
He mentioned a negative OpEd in the New York Times and a piece about the missed environmental legacies of the games in Folha as his impetus for the legacy presentation.
A total of 27 Olympic projects have been delivered by the city according to Paes, 10 more than were originally planned in the city’s bid book.
"The Olympic movement was very elitist, but bringing the Games to Rio was part of the ‘de-eliticizing’ of the movement," Paes said. "We now have a Latin America context, by coming to South America, and we are proud we are able to host the Games."
Paes added that city officials know the city is far from perfect, and that the Olympics were not meant to solve all of the city’s problems. Instead the world should look at how Rio de Janeiro has come from 2009, when the city won the right to host the Games.
"The Games offered us an opportunity to look at our troubles and work to make us a better city," Paes added. "Do not expect New York City, Chicago, or London when visiting."
In regards to the security concerns the city of Rio faces, Minister of Justice Alexandre de Moraes spoke at length about how money from the federal government has finally been given to the state of Rio de Janeiro to pay police workers. Yesterday, unpaid officers protested at Galeao International Airport warning incoming tourists to leave Rio at once for their safety.
With a lack of funds for state police officials, crime has increased in 2016 leading to a number of high-profile security incidents. Two pairs of athletes have been robbed training in Rio the past two months, and a hospital treating a known gang leader in police custody was the site of a deadly shootout as gang members attempted to recapture their leader.
"Public security will be fully normalized, and it is important to emphasize every single commitment by the ministry has been fulfilled," Moraes said. "Our mandate is to guarantee safety allowing the full liberation of the police of Rio to focus on public security."
A total of 85,000 security officials will be working in Rio to protect the Olympic Games. National forces will work on securing Olympic venues, so state and civil police are free to secure the city. Moraes added that a number of international agencies are working around the clock to monitor terror threats against the Olympics. He pledged that all authorities are taking into account all possible risks, working for an incident-free Olympics.
Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro
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