Rio delays mount, Aussie Olympic chief says
Thursday, May 1, 2014
It turns out that the Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro is not the only project behind schedule for the 2016 Games.
John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee and a vice president of the International Olympic Committee, described preparations for South America's inaugural Olympiad as “the worst I have experienced” and “worse than Athens” in 2004.
Athens stands as the benchmark for poor Olympic planning after the 2004 Summer Games were plagued by delays and a $1 billion cost overrun.
Speaking at an Olympic forum in Sydney on Tuesday, Coates told delegates that construction has not yet started on certain venues, general infrastructure is significantly delayed and water quality is a major concern.
“The IOC has formed a special task force to try and speed up preparations, but the situation is critical on the ground,” said Coates, who has made six visits to Rio as a member of the IOC's Coordination Commission. “The IOC has adopted a more hands-on role. It is unprecedented for the IOC. but there is no Plan B. We are going to Rio.”
In the IGF meetings at the Masters earlier this month, the group responsible for bringing golf back to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 was briefed on the issues that have plagued the Olympic golf course. The Gil Hanse-designed layout is under construction at Reserva de Marapendi in Rio's Barra da Tijuca neighborhood.
Those issues forced the IGF to implement a new schedule designed to complete the venue in time for a test event in late 2015 or early 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, after being briefed at the Masters about the Olympic course. “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."