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IOC "Highly Impressed" by Rio 2016 Bid

By Kalyn Belsha in News on May 3, 2009 7:30PM

The 13-member evaluation team of the International Olympic Committee finished its tour Saturday of Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro, a potential host for the 2016 Olympic Games. The IOC offered high praise of the city - as it also did on earlier tours of Chicago and Tokyo - saying it was "highly impressed" by Rio's vision for the Games and offers of governmental support.

Security concerns have been an issue for the Rio bid; robberies frequently occur during Rio's highly attended Carnival and shootouts are common in the city's favelas (slums). On Saturday one of the IOC members said the evaluation team "was assured that all that can be done will be done to make Rio a safe city for the Games."

Previous plans to lodge guests on cruise ships instead of hotels were revised for the IOC's visit; Rio plans to increase its reliance on more traditional accommodations.

Brazil will play host to the 2014 World Cup, which is expected to be attended by hundreds of thousands. Some who have said the World Cup risks overshadowing an Olympic bid in Brazil question whether Brazil could handle two large sporting events. But IOC chairwoman Nawal el Moutawakel said the Cup could "serve as a test" for the Games, which would have a positive impact on Rio's Olympic bid.

The evaluation crew will visit Madrid, the fourth and final bid city, next week. [Tribune, AP]