IOC Promises to Dive into Guanabara Bay

Published on August 12th, 2015

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 12, 2015) – Rio will stage a great Olympics, as long as it sorts out “millions” of details first, the head of an IOC fact-finding mission said Wednesday.

She even promised to dive into the dirty waters where the sailing events will take place.

“Brazil is showing the entire world that it can deliver a great Olympic Games,” Nawal El Moutawakel, head of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission, told a press conference in Rio.

She said that volleyball, triathlon, rowing and riding test events have passed off with no “major problems.” Dozens more competitions designed to check the city’s infrastructure are still to come, with sailing tests starting on the scenic, but heavily polluted Guanabara Bay this Saturday.

Despite her effusive praise for the Brazilian organizers, El Moutawakel said Rio was still far from Games ready.

It’s “now about dealing in a timely manner with millions of operational details,” she said. “You can imagine the loads of work that is expected from our friends.”

El Moutawakel dismissed concerns over the Olympic rowing and sailing venues, saying that organizers are “doing their utmost” to ensure safe water.

“We will dive (in) together,” she joked with an IOC colleague, then turned to the journalists covering the press conference and said, “I propose we all dive, all of you.”

Christophe Dubi, the IOC executive director for the Olympics, said that while promises by Rio authorities to cut 80 percent of Guanabara Bay’s pollution have been abandoned, at least the competition areas will be clean.

Organizers are “ensuring the quality of the water for the athletes and that is what is being delivered,” he said. “We will have competitions with the greatest athletes, with the very best setting you have ever seen in the Olympic sailing competition.”

At least half of greater Rio’s sewage pours untreated into Guanabara Bay, as well as garbage carried in by dozens of rivers that environmentalists have described as effectively dead. At present, raw sewage even flows constantly into the Marina da Gloria that will host the Olympic sailing boats.

The 2016 Games will be the first held in South America.

Source: Yahoo Sports (AFP)

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