Athletes Raising Concerns About Rio 2016 Preparations

Athletes Raising Concerns About Rio 2016 Preparations





Construction at Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Park. (Getty Images)
(ATR) Claudia Bokel said in an interview she is starting to hear some concerns about the pace of preparation, but “not that many.” 

Rio de Janeiro Olympic organizers have come under fire for the perceived slow pace of work on the Games. IOC vice president John Coates said Rio’s Olympic work was the “worst” he has seen. 

Bokel declined to specify what athletes are saying, but she pointed out that she has heard many of the same issues before. 

“I remember myself in the lead up to Athens, where people said it’s never going to be finished,” the three-time Olympian fencer said. 

“You hear it, but you’re focused on your sport and you have to trust people. You have to trust the organizing committee and the IOC. I think it’s similar.” 

She expressed faith in Rio’s ability to deliver the Games and reinforced previous IOC statements that time is running out for Rio. 

After the last IOC Executive Board meeting, a plan was devised in conjunction with the international federations to ensure a successful 2016 Olympics. 

“It really is time to put that in place and get there so that everything will be ready in time,” she said. 

“I think it’s going to need a lot of hard work, but I am still convinced they can manage it.”

Bokel also expressed support for a 2024 German Olympic bid. Both Berlin and Hamburg have expressed interest in a bid. She said she likes both cities and has no preference for either city to bid at the moment. 

“I think the Olympics would be great for Germany. I’d love to go for it.

“[The German Olympic Committee] sent out a questionnaire to both cities and I’m looking forward to reading them.” 

A referendum killed Munich’s 2022 ambitions - and those of Krakow and Switzerland - and Bokel said it is possible a 2024 German bid would not need the voters’ approval. 

“We haven’t looked at that,” she said. “Once you do a referendum, I guess at a certain point it is difficult to go without it. 

“It is always difficult to have the people standing behind it. It’s now up to us to convince people the Olympics are great.” 

Written by  Ed Hula III

Homepage photo: Getty Images

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