Re­port rips Rio’s ‘white ele­phants’

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEPHEN WADE AND FILIPE DE ALMEIDA RIO DE JANEIRO —

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.

SIL­VIA IZQUIERDO, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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

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