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Rio 2016 Games: Work started, much still ahead

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During its last inspection in June, the IOC expressed concerns over the Olympic Park, which will host several sporting venues and the main media centers, but said it was satisfied with the solutions found by local organizers. Construction at the park is expected to get under way in August.

But there is no solution yet for the legal dispute over land for the golf course, which will host the return of the first Olympic tournament after an absence of 110 years. Although two developers are fighting for the land where the course is expected to be built, the city already has announced a deal with one of the reported owners.

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The case is in the hands of Brazil’s Higher Court of Justice and a final ruling could take months or even years. The course’s construction is expected to begin in October, and it is touted as one of the games’ greatest legacies because it will remain a public venue.

But many local groups argue whether the Olympics will bring many real benefits for the city after the event ends. They say there has been excessive spending for some projects that will only be effective during the games and won’t improve the city in the long term.

"The new subway line is a great example," said Gustavo Mehl, a member of the watchdog group Comite Popular, which is monitoring the city’s preparations for the World Cup and the Olympics. "The original project would have helped many more residents, but they changed it to fulfill the needs of the Olympics."

There are also complaints over the high costs of Maracana stadium, which was renovated for the Pan Am Games in 2007 and now is being upgraded again for the World Cup and the Olympics.

Rio 2016 organizers will be observers at the London Games, hoping to learn from the event’s successes and mistakes.

"This will be a great opportunity for Rio organizers to get a firsthand look at what it takes to host an Olympic Games, enabling them to refine their plans and streamline their operational processes," the IOC said.

Rio will get its first moment in the spotlight during an eight-minute segment at the closing ceremony in London.

After that, it’s showtime.

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"We have a gigantic job to do," Nuzman said.


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Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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