Velodrome for Rio Games damaged by fire
RIO DE JANEIRO » The track and roof of the velodrome built for last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics was damaged in a fire Sunday when the building was struck by a small, hand-made hot-air balloon.
A charred area could be seen on the roof of the structure, and shots from TV network Globo showed a 20-30 meter (yard) portion of wood track surface had burned.
The racing surface was made of special Siberian wood, a requirement that made the velodrome one of the last venues to be ready for the Olympics.
The Brazilian sports ministry confirmed the incident with no injuries reported. In a statement it said the damage was being evaluated.
Despite being illegal, the release of the hand-made balloons or lanterns is common in Brazil. The balloons often cause fires when they land.
The incident took place just a few days short of the one-year anniversary of the Rio Games, which opened on Aug. 5.
The velodrome cost about $45 million.