Report rips Rio’s ‘white elephants’
A federal prosecutor looking into last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics says that many of the venues “are white elephants” that were built with “no planning.”
The scathing report offered Monday at a public hearing confirms what The Associated Press reported several months after the games ended. Many of the venues are empty, boarded up, and have no tenants or income with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government.
“There was no planning,” federal prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri told the public hearing on the Olympics. “There was no planning when they put out the bid to host the Games. No planning.
“They are white elephants today,” Mitidieri added. “What we are trying to look at here is to how to turn this into something usable.”
Rio de Janeiro spent about $12 billion to organize the games, which were plagued by cost-cutting, poor attendance, and reports of bribes and corruption linked to the building of some Olympic-related facilities.
The Olympic Park in suburban Barra da Tijuca, which was the largest cluster of venues, is an expanse of empty arenas with clutter still remaining from the games. The second largest cluster, in the northern area of Deodoro, is closed despite plans to open it as a park with pools for the mostly poor residents who live in the area.
Nine months after the Rio Olympics ended, the local organizing committee still owes creditors about $30 million, and 137 medals awarded during the games are rusting and need to be repaired.
Organizers blamed “poor handling” for the rust issues.
In this Feb. 2, 2017 photo, an overturned trash can sits by ripped seats at one of the dugouts in Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro