Sharp criticism of Rio de Janeiro's preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics continued Tuesday as International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates called the delays "the worst I have experienced."
Coates, who has made six trips to Brazil as part of the IOC's coordination commission for Rio, said the Brazilians are behind "in many, many ways" and are in worse shape than Greek organizers were in preparing for the 2004 Olympics.
Construction has not begun on some venues, infrastructure is significantly delayed and water pollution is a major concern for sailing and other sports just two years out from the Games. Even so, the Australian said the Games will take place in Rio.
"The IOC has formed a special task force to try and speed up preparations but the situation is critical on the ground. The IOC has adopted a more hands on role, it is unprecedented for the IOC but there is no plan B. We are going to Rio," he said at an Olympic Forum in Sydney. "We have to make it happen and that is the IOC approach, you can't walk away from this."
After leaders of 18 sports federations outlined their concerns at the IOC's executive board meetings in Turkey earlier this month, the IOC formed several task forces which will closely monitor the construction progress and work with local organizing committee and political officials.
Brazil has also faced heavy criticism from FIFA, soccer's world governing body, for construction delays in advance of the World Cup, which begins in June.