One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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The mascots of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Vinicius and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Tom at a Cartoon Network event in Rio de Janeiro's Flamengo Park.

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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An aerial view of the Olympic Park, in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: AFP/Vanderlei Almeida

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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Media reports have claimed that venues remain littered with rubbish and sewage, prompting concerns from health experts. Photo: AFP/Vanderlei Almeida

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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Reports also suggest that power supply contracts to provide electricity to venues in Rio have yet to be finalised. Photo: AFP/Vanderlei Almeida

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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A key consideration is the chance to make game-changing progress in infrastructure. Photo: AFP/Vanderlei Almeida

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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The 12-metre-high rings were shipped from the UK after having decorated the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle during the 2012 London Olympics. Photo: AFP/Yasuyoshi Chiba

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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Madureira Park is the third largest park in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: AFP/Vanderlei Almeida

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes has claimed that no other host city in Olympic history will have been as transformed by the Games as Rio. Photo: AFP/Vanderlei Almeida

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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The under-construction Carioca Arena 3 will be used for taekwondo and fencing. Photo: AFP/Yasuyoshi Chiba

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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Last year, International Olympic Committee Vice-President John Coates described preparations for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games as the 'worst ever'. Photo: AFP/Vanderlei Almeida

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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Children play in the sand at Madureira Park. Photo: AFP/Yasuyoshi Chiba

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

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Brazilian President Dilma Roussef (centre) poses with Ginga, the Brazilian national Olympic team's new mascot at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Park. Photo: AFP/Yasuyoshi Chiba

RIO OLYMPICS

One year to Rio: is the city set for an Olympic-sized disaster?

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

One year to the day, the biggest bang in sport, the 2016 Olympic Games, will kick off in Rio de Janeiro.

And it looks set to be a disaster.

Just over a year ago, International Olympic Committee Vice-President John Coates described preparations for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games as the 'worst ever'.

The concerns range from water pollution and unfinished infrastructure to the sheer scale of logistics involved, and the city's ability to get a grip on them in time.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach seems part of the minority that's confident about the fate of the Games. He believes all doubts about the city's capability to host the mega event will be addressed by the time the event begins.

Thomas Bach arrived in the city on Tuesday and seemed entirely at ease. "I have no special worries because I'm very confident that the organising committee and all levels of government will continue this dynamic way to work," said Bach after playing football and volleyball with current and former Brazilian Olympians on the beach in Tuesday.

Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes on speaking to the BBC claims that no other host city in Olympic history will have been as transformed by the Games as Rio. "One cannot compare London to Rio - it's a different level of development. You've got to compare Rio to Rio - when we got the Olympics in 2009 and what city we are delivering next year," Paes said.

The confidence may not be entirely warranted, though.

Water pollution continues to be a major issue. What has most attracted the world's attention is the cleanup work at Guanabara Bay, which will host Olympic sailing, and the Rodrigo de Freitas lake, where rowing and canoeing events will be held.

Media reports have claimed that both venues remain littered with rubbish and sewage, prompting concerns from health experts.

Reports also suggest that power supply contracts to provide electricity to venues in Rio have yet to be finalised.

Yet another source of serious concern is the completion of the city's new metro line, Linea 4, linking the city centre and Olympic Park. Many official sources are claiming that the work may not finish in time for the August 2016 deadline.

The city's high crime rate isn't helping. Organisers claim to be staging Brazil's largest ever security operation; about 85,000 troops will be deployed during the games, including 57,000 military personnel, officials said last week.

But one of the key considerations for a nation that bids for the Olympic Games is precisely this: the chance to make game-changing progress in infrastructure and living conditions for its people and to strengthen tourist infrastructure in ways that boosts the economy.

And that's why Brazil still has so much to deliver: window dressing may yet prep the city for the Games, but it's unclear whether citizens will have something to cheer about when the athletes and tourists have all gone home.

Priyata Brajabasi

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB