June 29, 2016
- Olympic Games start in Rio de Janiero, Brazil on August 5 – just 37 days away – but venues are far from ready
- Daily Mail Online visited series of locations where sports will be played in front of millions of spectators
- But only one of the new buildings ordered for the Games is complete and facilities are still under construction
- Crucial subway link will only be completed four days before the Opening Ceremony
- American athletes change location for final practice for games and some will even go to Argentina to train
- Games already have threat of Zika and big names including Jason Day and LeBron James staying away
- Brazil is facing crisis of impeached president and massive pile of debt which has hung over preparations
- Up to a quarter of all seats could be empty because huge number of tickets are unsold – and unaffordable to locals
Olympic organizers are battling to save the $10 billion Games from becoming a fiasco, Daily Mail Online can reveal.
The games are engulfed in a desperate last-minute building and repair operation as the first of more than 10,000 athletes begin to arrive in Rio.
Daily Mail Online discovered the Rio Olympic authorities have their work cut out for them with only five weeks and two full days to go before the Opening Ceremony on August 5.
And these exclusive pictures show, that despite being given seven years to prepare, vital roads, transport and structural work are still to be completed. In contrast, 90 per cent of construction of the venues for the 2012 Games in London was completed with a year to go.
The clock is ticking down towards when the 750-strong US team are due to appear in the opening ceremony while crucial development of facilities is still needed.
The combination of unfinished facilities along with safety and health fears, have also led US athletes to make late changes to their travel plans with some heading to Argentina instead to prepare.
Athletes and fans will be disappointed to discover that Rio has still not managed to sign off several key venues for the 2016 games and the city is littered with Olympic eyesores.
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Under construction: The tennis center is still under scaffolding even though organizers claim the court and seating is complete
On your bike: The unfinished state of the velodrome is obvious and it is surrounded by barriers as workers rush to complete it
Big challenge: The modern pentathlon venue has hardly any of its seats installed with just five weeks to go until it is in use
Construction phase: The BMX course has a temporary stand where workers are still putting up the scaffolding. Seating is a long way off
Intention: This artist impression shows how the BMX course is intended to look – but the reality is far different
Not a seat to be seen: The beach volleyball venue on Copacabana will offer stunning views of one of the world’s most famous beaches – but with five weeks to go until it starts, not a single seat has been installed
Men at work: The beach volleyball venue in Copacabana should be one of the most redolent scenes of Rio de Janiero, but is simply a building site with only a few days to go
Finished – but ready? The aquatics center is complete inside and out but barriers are still up around it and landscaping which should see an Olympic Way is nowhere to be seen
Water way to go: Kayaking and canoe events will be held in the whitewater stadium and although the water is running, the seats are not ready
Hole in the ground: This is the scene at the hockey venue, which is supposed to be state-of-the-art but which is far from complete
Under wraps: Landscaping is far from complete in the athletes’ village – even though the competitors are beginning to arrive for the Games
High bar to cross: The gymnastics venue will be in full swing less than six weeks from now – but is surrounded by construction work
Incomplete: The Deodoro Park is one of the four Olympic ‘zones’ and the second largest, but this is the current state it is in
Mind the gap: The new subway link which is still to be completed and will in any case fall park of the Barra park, the ‘heart of the games’
Way to go: This bus station is the crucial link for the hundreds of thousands of spectators due at the biggest Olympics zone – but is still under construction
BUT RELAX… AT LEAST THE HANDBALL STADIUM IS READY…
There is one: The only newly-built venue which Daily Mail Online found was complete is the Arena of the Future, where the handball will be staged. But it will be taken down after the Games are over
FOUR OLYMPIC ZONES IN ONE CITY
Rio is splitting the Olympics Games across four separate areas.
The biggest zone is the Barra Olympic Park which hosts 23 disciplines, including golf, swimming, and tennis and is home to the Olympic village, united by the Olympic Way – which currently is a construction site.
The second-largest cluster, Deodoro Olympic Park is where the far-from complete hockey, modern pentathlon, whitewater sports and BMX venues – among others – were seen by Daily Mail Online.
The opening and closing ceremonies are in the Maracanã zone, where the stadium was built in 1950 and rebuilt for the 2014 soccer (football) World Cup. Track and field will be in the already built João Havelange Olympic Stadium.
The final zone is Copacabana, where the beach volleyball venue is far from complete, and work is under way for seats along the marathon and road cycling routes.
Electrical cables hang from above over cracked walkways in streets leading to venues, footbridges are closed off due to unfinished cementing and key transport links are in chaos.
Cracked footpaths, collapsed drains and waters filled with garbage and smelling of raw sewage are adding to the Olympic misery.
Seating in several spectator stands have yet to be installed and some stands are propped up by scaffolding as builders carry out the work which many would have hoped would have been completed months ago.
These are sights that the International Olympic Committee would not have expected to see after awarding the games to Rio seven years ago.
Inside the main Olympic Park at Barra, about an hour from the center of Rio, the sound of constant drilling and banging illustrates the urgency.
Construction diggers work around the clock to prepare land around the arena where Britain’s Andy Murray will try to defend his tennis Olympic title.
Organizers insist the tennis arena’s courts and seating are complete, but teams of workers are still tending to the problems.
Daily Mail Online found scaffolding being used by construction workers around the tennis arena’s stands and truck after truck ferrying tons of concrete and rubble from where work is continuing in the area.
Men wearing safety helmets lined up like ‘chain gangs’ on perimeter roads, drilling, painting, excavating and installing squares of grass.
At the X-Park at Deodoro Olympic Park, a few miles away, scores of workers are busy installing seating and spectator facilities.
Three events, Mountain and BMX competition and canoe slalom, are set to be held there, but work is some way from being completed.
Dozens of constructors are still attempting to build spectator facilities, complete internal roads and outer fencing.
A group of carpenters worked busily erecting wooden viewing areas for the canoe slalom and rows of plants which were installed in the hope they would be ready for the games, have failed to flourish
THIS IS WHAT THEY SAID IT WOULD LOOK LIKE…
Different: Artists’ impressions of the plans for the Olympics are a contrast to the scene at the Barra park where the velodrome (left) and tennis center (right) are in scaffolding. The aquatics center in the distance is finished but the others are not, nor is the landscaping
Concourse: The Olympic Way runs through the planned park at Barra in Rio but has still to emerge from the construction in reality
Impressive: The Deodoro park is intended to look like this, with landscaping and an Olympics way in the foreground and to the left
Main entrance: The Olympic Way is intended to look like this when complete, leading spectators into the Barra facility – instead it is still a building site
WILL THE SEATS EVEN BE FULL?
Tickets for Rio 2016 Olympics are widely available only weeks before the Opening Ceremony.
In contrast to London 2012 ,where more than 20 million applications were made for the 6.6million available, Brazilians have yet to show an overwhelming appetite for the world’s biggest sporting spectacle.
The official Rio 2016 website was today offering tickets for marquee events such as athletics and soccer tournaments, which were oversubscribed at the last Olympics.
The London opening ceremony was ten times oversubscribed months before the event.
But tickets are still on sale through official outlets and ticket agencies for the same event on August 5, although the $1400 price for grandstand seats is likely to have put many Brazilians off.
The rest of the opening ceremony tickets, priced between $60 and $900, have sold out.
At London 2012, organizers said 95 per cent of all applications had come from the UK.
Rio has yet to reveal how many Brazilians have tried to buy tickets for the events, but the games are being staged as the country is undergoing its worst economic crisis since 1930.
The Brazilian economy, according to the World Bank, is said to have shrunk by 3.7 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent this year.
Terrorist threats and the Zika virus may also have affected sales.
Several spectator stands remain without seats installed and the skeletal stands present an eerie image. The seats, we discovered, were stacked a few hundred yards away in containers.
One of the biggest let-downs is the late completion of the much-vaunted new metro extension from the center of Rio to Barra.
Thousands of Olympic fans are expected to use the service daily to access venues at Barra, but the new train line will fall about five miles short of the Olympic Park as finance has ran out.
Olympic fans will be frustrated to find they will be forced to wait for buses to take them onto the venues.
The subway extension is still being built and contractors are on site with diggers and other construction equipment while traffic is pushed away to allow work to continue.
When Daily Mail Online visited the Jardim Oceanico station, which was meant to be finished last year, dozens of workers were beneath the streets drilling and installing panels.
The subway extension was due to be open and running months ago, but officials now say it will be in operation from August 1, four days before the Games.
It links Ipanema and Copacabana beach areas to Barra Olympic Park.
Only event ticket holders, athletes and media covering the Games will be allowed to use the link.
Locals expressed fears that insufficient time will have been allowed for safety tests and runs.
The escalators were covered in dust and workers were carrying out their tasks in the dark.
Across the street, the bus station where spectators will be directed to, was far from complete with heavy lifting machinery and diggers at work.
Traffic is set to be nightmare around the Olympic Park at Barra where motorists will have a single lane to enter and leave the area.
The second lane has been commandeered and turned into an ‘Olympic Rio 2016’ route with promises that athletes will need only 10 minutes to reach their events from the village.
On top of the rush to prepare the Olympics for more than 500,000 visitors, officials are sending out reassurances that the feared Zika virus will not be a danger to those who defy advice by the World Health Organization and travel to Brazil.
Infested open waters near Olympic complexes are being land filled to prevent mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus, from laying their eggs and worsening conditions.
Golfers Rory McIlroy, who would compete for Ireland, and Australia’s Jason Day, the world number one, have pulled out citing the fear of Zika.
A series of NBA athletes are also not going – including LeBron James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory in the NBA finals earlier this month, and Steph Curry, whose Golden State Warriors he defeated.
Neither mentioned Zika in their reasons for not attending, but
Ponds and swamps near the Olympic Park in Barra, where 17,000 athletes will be housed, emit a foul stench.
Workers have been urinating into the water and in fields nearby where they were working to complete venues.
One local resident Christina Silva, 25, said she had tentatively welcomed the Olympics, but had since changed her stance.
‘Many young people like me felt the same; that the Olympics would be good for Brazil. But I have since realized it is going to be good for two weeks and means very little to us as Brazilians.
‘Having the World Cup here in 2014 and then the Olympics so close, is too much. We are a poor country and it is far more important to spend the money on health care. There has been a lot of words of corruption and the costs have gone up and up.
‘It has made me feel very uncomfortable but there is nothing ordinary Brazilians can do. Most people cannot even afford to have tickets.’
… BUT THIS IS REALITY – HOLES IN THE GROUND AND FRANTIC WORKERS
Work under way: This is the stand at the BMX track, where workers are still putting up the structure where spectators will watch
Take a seat: Seating in the Games’ corporate colors is littered around the Deodoro Park waiting to be installed
Still under way: Road construction is still taking place in front of the Athletes’ Village – even though competitors are beginning to arrive
Long way to go: The beach volleyball venue on the Copacabana Beach is clearly nowhere near finished
Work under way: The bleachers are still being built at Copacabana for the beach volleyball venue, which is on the Atlantic ocean
At least there’s plenty of sand: This will be the beach volleyball venue in Copacabana but there is little to suggest what it will look like next month
Long way to go: This was the scene at the BMX venue in the Deodoro Olympic Park, where seats are in short supply and the edges of the course are unbuilt
Exposed: A hole in the ground on a sidewalk just outside the Barra Olympic Park. It is on the route which will be used by hundreds of thousands of spectators from August 5
Unready: Dumped building materials and cracked pavements surround the Barra Olympic Park despite it being weeks before the Games
Off track: The Olympic mountain bike park is supposed to be ready by August but is still apparently nowhere near being completed
Hector Siltar, 44, surveyed the Olympic Park and said: ‘We the Brazilian public didn’t want the games initially and now they have not even finished the building of it.
‘We cannot afford all this work and all the more money that is being spent on it now.’
Another local Julianne Estervez , 32, said: ‘These Olympics are for tourists only and not the people of Brazil. We do not have money to spend on our own transport, homes and transport and it is being wasted.
‘It is insulting and embarrassing that first they take the money from public funds and then are in a panic to finish the facilities.’
Brazil is undergoing its worst economic crisis since 1930 with the economy, according to the World Bank, said to have shrunk by 3.7 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent this year.
Rio’s Olympic committee plans to have spent around $9.7 billion by the times the games begin on August 5 with the Opening Ceremony at the Maracana Stadium.
Rio’s acting governor Francisco Dornelles has warned a lack of budget could result in the Olympics being a ‘big failure’ and that security and transport are his big worries.
Hanging over the Games are the country’s massive political crisis.
Its president, Dilma Rousseff, has been suspended pending a possible impeachment trial, which could come at exactly the time the Olympics are due to begin.
The corruption scandal saw her accused of fraudulently doctoring the public finances, leading to the senate and congress voting for her to be put on trial and leading to the vice-president, Michel Temer, being installed as acting president as she stood aside.
THE BIGGEST STARS KEEP FALLING: WHO’S DROPPED OUT OF RIO SO FAR AND WHY…
Jason Day (AUS) – Zika (pictured above)
Marc Leishman (AUS) – Zika
Rory McIlroy (IRE) – Zika
Branden Grace (SOUTH AFRICA) – Zika
Charl Schwartzel (SOUTH AFRICA) – Zika
Louis Oosthuizen (SOUTH AFRICA) – Zika
Vijay Singh (FIJI) – Zika
Adam Scott (AUS) – Schedule
Graeme McDowell (IRE) – Schedule
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) – Dispute with officials
Dominic Thiem (AUSTRIA) – No reason cited
John Isner (USA) – Schedule
Feliciano Lopez (SPAIN) – Schedule
Bernard Tomic (AUS) – Schedule
Dennis Kimetto (KENYA) – Schedule
Wilson Kipsang (KENYA) – Schedule
Tejay van Garderen (USA) – Zika
LeBron James (USA) – ‘Needs rest’ (pictured above)
Kawhi Leonard (USA) – No reason cited
Steph Curry (USA) – Injury
Russell Westbrook (USA) – No reason cited
James Harden (USA) – No reason cited
Chris Paul (USA) – Injury
Anthony Davis (USA) – Injury
Blake Griffin (USA) – Injury
John Wall (USA) – Injury
LaMarcus Aldridge (USA) – Injury
Still to be finished: Bleachers for events including the marathon and road cycling are still being constructed in Copacabana
A lot to do: This parking area in the Deodoro Olympic Park remains a work in progress. Shuttle buses are a crucial part of the plans for getting people around the Games
Not looking like those drawings: This access road in the Deodoro Park suggests that there is a huge amount to be done to make the landscaping match the mock-ups which have been used to publicize the games
Heavy burden: Roads inside the Deodoro Park remain incomplete despite the looming deadline of the 5 August opening ceremony
Men at work: Squads of workers are everywhere in the Barra and Deodoro Olympic parks, where the majority of sports will be held
Congestion ahead: A network of Olympics lanes will be used around the city to move officials and athletes. Just one lane will be left for ordinary motorists, leading to fears of congestion
Language barrier: The Olympics’ official languages are English and French but so far there is little evidence of signs which are not in Portuguese
Clean-up time: Mounds of trash litter the Deodoro Olympic Park where hundreds of thousands of spectators will arrive next month
Great stench: Heavily-polluted waterways are just half a mile from the Barra Olympic Park. The smell of raw sewage hangs over both parks
No clean-up here: Pollution on waterways around the Olympic venues has not been resolved by the city or the state. Brazil’s economy, according to the World Bank, said to have shrunk by 3.7 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent this year.
And the wider economy is in peril – unemployment is approaching 10 per cent, and inflation is at that level, while the acting president’s moves towards deep spending cuts to address spiraling debt is controversial.
The state of readiness has already begin to affect preparations among athletes for the Games.
US Olympic sources said some athletes who had hoped to be in Rio this week had been forced to divert to Buenos Aires for training as they feared conditions were not right in Rio.
‘They need clean air and facilities that are what world-class athletes need to compete at their best at the Olympics’ said one official in Barra.
‘Those are not available here right now. There is dust from the construction and bad smells from some of the water which isn’t what our athletes need after four years of preparation.
‘They’ll be staying in some mountain areas in Argentina and travel to Brazil in good time. But it isn’t the best here right now. They need to step it up in Rio.’
US officials have also been dismayed that two shipping containers, carrying key medical supplies for American athletes, are being held in the port at Rio de Janeiro.
They were put onto a boat at Houston, Texas, on May 31 and arrived in Brazil last week, but have been impounded until Rio officials have scoured the containers and verified paper work.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3663080/Just-month-Olympics-Rio-2016-scaffolding-debris-unfinished-subway-stench-sewage-air-venue-venue-construction-s-without-taking-Zika-account.html#ixzz4D0DRlDqO
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