Olympics "top priority" after Cup -- IOC

AFPJuly 12, 2014
Organizers of the Rio Olympics aim to slash the cost of the Games by around 10 percent in a bid to combat the effects of the economic crisis gripping Brazil
Organizers of the Rio Olympics aim to slash the cost of the Games by around 10 percent in a bid to combat the effects of the economic crisis gripping Brazil (AFP Photo/Christophe Simon)

Brasília (AFP) - The 2016 Rio Olympics will be "top priority" for Brazil once the World Cup ends Sunday, IOC head Thomas Bach said after meeting President Dilma Rousseff late Friday.

"I was pleased to hear the confidence President Rousseff has in the Games and what they will deliver, and it was good to hear that the Games and their legacy will be a top priority," said Bach after talks in Brasilia.

International Olympic Committee head Bach also praised the organization of the World Cup, which will culminate in Sunday's final between Germany and Argentina.

"Brazil and Brazilians can be proud," said Bach after talks in Brasilia.

Rio is straining to overhaul itself ahead of the Games but city mayor Eduardo Paes insisted Friday it would be ready despite fears of construction delays.

Bach said the IOC would do its bit to ensure a positive legacy.

"The IOC will contribute $1.5 billion to the Games, which will leave a huge sporting, economic and social legacy," he said.

Two months ago, IOC vice-president John Coates slammed the Games preparations as the worst he had seen, one fear being the highly polluted Guanabara Bay, which will host sailing and windsurfing events.

Those fears prompted a group of IOC experts to visit Rio for an overview of preparations -- although Coates later retracted his trenchant criticisms.