Factbox - Five things to watch 100 days from the Rio Olympics


  • Football
  • Wednesday, 27 Apr 2016

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Summer Olympics are scheduled to start in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 5. Here is a list of five things to watch.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Satnav maker TomTom last month named Rio de Janeiro the world's fourth-most congested city. Much of that is due to construction work on new bus lanes, tram lines and metro stops.

But while many bus lanes are operative and successful, the key 16 km (9.9-mile) metro extension toward the Barra da Tijuca beachfront area that will host many of the venues is not complete. Officials say it will be ready in time, but the last stop would still be a long way from the Olympic Park.

Brazil has failed to invest in traffic infrastructure for years. Patience may be necessary.

TICKET SALES

Less than two-thirds of the tickets have been sold for the August Olympics and only one-quarter for the Paraolympics in September.

Corporate insiders said they could not give away their tickets because violence and the Zika virus have scared people off and because airline and hotel prices are so high.

Officials are betting on a last-minute rush, but the prospect of rows of empty seats, especially for less glamorous events, is a real fear.

SOCIAL UNREST

A cleanup that never materialized for Rio's Guanabara Bay and the deaths of two people when a cycle lane collapsed last week have prompted many locals to question what they are getting out the Games.

The question is all the more relevant given the state of Rio's public finances. Thousands of pensioners will not get paid this month because the state is bankrupt "and on the verge of social collapse," state official Leonardo Espindola told Rio's O Globo this week.

Hospitals and schools are closing or reducing hours because they cannot afford to operate. Further cutbacks could prompt more anger.

LAST-MINUTE PREPARATIONS

Power outages affected the scoring and lighting at swimming and gymnastics test events this month, and there is clearly still work to do to get everything ready.

Rio officials said they would correct all the problems before the games begin on Aug 5.

"Test events are there to detect problems raised by athletes and national federations,” Olympics chief Carlos Nuzman told concerned members of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week.

SECURITY

Brazil has never been the target of terrorist attacks, and officials say they have taken every precaution to maintain that record.

But vigilance has been increased after Islamic State attacks in Europe and even more so after Brazil's military intelligence confirmed as legitimate a threat made via Twitter by a known French Islamic State terrorist.

Security officials said this month that the probability that the country will be the target of terrorist attacks had risen in the last few months.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Lisa Von Ahn)

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