Olympics: Rio Games takes cue from World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO - Citing a highly successful World Cup, 2016 Rio Olympics organizers claimed Monday that the event would take its cue from football and make South America's first Olympiad one to remember.

Early preparations for the August 5-12, 2016 event had been sluggish, fuelling concerns even within the International Olympic Committee about the city's ability to deliver.

But there has been a recent push and 38 per cent of venues are now ready, with a target of passing the 50 per cent mark by the end of this year.

Local Organizing Committee executive director of sport Agberto Guimaraes stresed the nature of the Olympics was radically different from the World Cup, as a multi-discipline event in one city rather than a single sport in 12.

But he said some issues could be positively taken on board, such as local authorities providing space for parking motor homes and trailers - used by thousands of Latin American football fans over the past month.

One underlying concern over the venues is the atate of Guanabara Bay, which will host sailing events but which is badly polluted with thousands of litres of untreated sewage tipped in daily.

But Guimaraes and director of communications Mario Andrada said Rio is getting to grips with the problem, gradually cleaning up the Bay ahead of test events scheduled for August 2-9 which they indicated were safely on target.

"We are making good progress. I am sure we be able to organise a good event for athletes to perform in August," Guimaraes told reporters.

Ticket prices are due to be set in September this year and the first go on sale in December.

In all, nine million tickets will be available - three times as many as for the World Cup.