Rio catching up in race to be ready for the Olympics
MONACO - Building for the 2016 Rio Olympics is speeding up but the Brazilian organisers still have "no time to lose" to be ready for the Games in just over 600 days, the IOC said Friday.
International Olympic Committee officials who made dire warnings about Games preparations earlier this year now say major progress has been made, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.
Rio de Janeiro's readiness dominated the first of a two-day meeting of the IOC executive board in Monaco.
The IOC set up a special task force because of concerns over the construction of stadiums and the Games village in Rio as well as worries over sea pollution.
IOC vice-president John Coates said in April that preparations were behind "in many, many ways".
"He (Coates) obviously has been critical in the past, but he could see that great progress has been made," Adams said reporting on the executive meeting where the Rio organising committee also gave a presentation.
But Adams said that the executive had to "remind them once again there is still no time to lose."
"With less than two years to go it is really about delivery now," he added.
Rio organising committee chief Carlos Nuzman expressed confidence that all venues would be ready on time.
Facilities are normally handed over to the IOC one year ahead of the Games, which start in Rio on August 5, 2016.
But the international broadcasting centre will only be handed over on October 31, 2015, nearly three months behind schedule.
While the IOC would not say whether the handover of sporting venues would be delayed, Adams said that all test events in stadiums would go ahead on schedule.
The Association of Summer Olympics International Federations said this week that "considerable progress" has been made by Rio.
But it added that "timelines remain tight for the construction of the venues."
Sergey Bubka, the former pole vault champion who is a member of the IOC executive and its commission monitoring Rio, praised the Brazilian city's efforts to catch up.
The commission last went to Rio at the end of September and Bubka said: "There is very good progress and everyone is focused for the preparation of Rio 2016."
The 15-member executive will turn to preparations for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The head of the South Korean organising committee resigned this year amid wrangling about the cost and who pays for the event.
The debate about readiness for the different Games is being held ahead of a key meeting of the IOC general membership on Monday and Tuesday to pass reforms to make the Olympics more attractive to viewers and easier to bid for.
IOC president Thomas Bach has proposed 40 reforms which will be voted on individually by the 104 member general body.
Under his Agenda 2020, joint bids from different cities and even countries could be considered to stage the Olympic Games.
Bach wants to cut the cost of bidding for the Games by reducing the number of presentations and giving IOC subsidies.
He has also proposed increasing the number of sports from the current 28 while capping the number of athletes and individual disciplines.
There will also be a voted on adding "non-discrimination on sexual orientation" to the Olympic Charter. This is one of the most controversial items for many conservative states.