By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Another important milestone was reached this week in the preparations for the first Olympic Games in South America. The Main Press Centre and a Live Site in the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca were inaugurated on Monday, April 11th. Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Rio 2016’s president, Carlos Nuzman, and the city’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, were all present.
The press center will be open 24 hours a day and will be able to accommodate 25,000 journalists over the Games. However journalists attending the opening were not invited to inspect the premises.
“I am very happy to be here to celebrate with you the opening and inauguration of this piece of art, the Main Press Center,” said Rio 2016 IOC Coordination Commission chair Nawal El Moutawakel.
“I am expressing to you our happiness of all the IOC Coordination Commission. From here all the beautiful stories will go to the world; you will be able to tell stories about the city of Rio, stories about athletes who are going to break records, and stories of coaches and sports leaders.”
The Live Site, an entertainment area with big screens for watching the competitions, was also opened. It occupies a space of 26,000 square meters, at the end of a path inspired by the pavements of Copacabana and known as the Olympic Way. Thaís Macedo, a local performer, was the first to take the stage. There will be many performances during the Games that will be open to Olympic Park ticket-holders.
During their visit, IOC members were making inspections of all the Olympic sites. Executive Board member Ching-Kuo Wu was pleased with Rio’s progress but said that deadlines remain tight. Ninety-eight percent works have been completed but some, like the velodrome, are running behind schedule. A test event there was recently cancelled as the venue is not ready.