Despite woes, Bach praises Rio

Spectators cheer before the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 21.
Spectators cheer before the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 21.PHOTO: EPA

RIO DE JANEIRO • IOC president Thomas Bach said on Saturday that the troubled Rio Olympics, marked by financial crisis and many sparsely filled stadiums, have been "iconic" and Brazil have been "great" hosts.

He said he would be ready to award the Olympics to Rio again despite the criticisms that have been made. He added that the city had staged an "iconic Games" and that "the Brazilians were altogether great hosts".

The International Olympic Committee president's end-of- Games description of the event was much awaited, particularly in the case of Rio de Janeiro, whose build-up was hit by political and financial crises.

There were budget cutbacks in the build-up and since the Games started on Aug 5, there has been widespread comment about some empty stadiums.

"These are iconic Olympic Games in many respects," he said, highlighting the many athletic records and achievements such as Kosovo winning a gold medal in its first Olympic Games.

The sports movement leader said the IOC "has shown that it is possible to organise the Olympic Games in countries which are not at the top of the GDP ranking". He added that it had been good for the Games to see the "social reality" in Rio, a city marked by violent crime and huge wealth disparities.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2016, with the headline 'Despite woes, Bach praises Rio'. Print Edition | Subscribe