IOC members tour some sports venues for Rio 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Members of the International Olympic Committee visited several venues being prepared for the 2016 Rio Games on Wednesday, taking a first look at how the city is making progress toward hosting the first Olympics in South America.

Rio 2016 organizers said members of the IOC coordination commission visited some of the sports facilities that will be used for the games, and made stops at the studios of two top Brazilian TV networks which are expected to bid for the broadcast rights.

The 18-member IOC commission met with Olympic organizers and Brazilians officials Tuesday to begin its first trip to Rio since the city was chosen as host in October. The visit will end Thursday.

"We will develop a close partnership with them in the next few years, and this first official visit is very important," Rio 2016 committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman said. "This year is of planning and organizing, and the meetings were extremely beneficial."

Part of the commission toured Rio by helicopter on an overcast day, while other members visited some of the venues on the ground. Among those facilities visited were the Joao Havelange stadium and the Riocentro complex, which accommodated the press center and some competitions during the 2007 Pan American Games.

In the meetings that began Tuesday, Rio organizers presented the city's progress report, detailing the event's initial work structure.

The Rio 2016 organizers said they had hired Odgers & Berndston, which worked with Vancouver 2010 and London 2012, to select executives for the games in Rio, as well as the accounting firm Deloitte to help with the process of forming the committee's organizational structure.

Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva gave details on the Olympic Public Authority, a committee comprised of all levels of government to coordinate and oversee the games' preparations, while Rio Gov. Sergio Cabral talked about the construction of new subway lines connecting some of the sports venues.

City officials on Tuesday asked the IOC commission to evaluate changes to the initial project, moving some sports venues and media facilities to the city's port district. Rio de Janeiro is revitalizing its waterfront district, which would be called "Wonderful Docks," and wants to use the Olympics infrastructure to help improve the currently underdeveloped area.

The changes would only take effect after being analyzed and approved by the IOC, but the commission was not expected to visit the district during this trip.

The IOC members are not expected to talk to the media until Thursday.

There was a report in local media that one of the IOC members had a camera stolen from his luggage at the airport when he arrived in the city, but Rio 2016 organizers dismissed the claim and said none of the members reported any thefts.


Associated Press Writer Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.