Rio is idyllic, with its striking emerald hills and white sand beaches. But the city of six million is struggling to contain brutal gang violence in its teeming slums, and the most recent conflict is a two-month siege between authorities and criminals that has left at least 46 dead. Meanwhile, there are construction delays at Pan Am sites and an air-traffic control crisis that has snarled domestic flights and angered passengers.
"Along with smooth running of the sports competitions, transportation and security will also be tests of Rio's readiness to make an Olympic bid," said Ed Hula, editor of Around the Rings, a global news organization devoted to the Olympics.
About 5,500 athletes from 42 countries - as well as 2,000 delegation members, 3,000 journalists and 15,000 volunteers - across the hemisphere are expected to attend the games from Friday through July 29.
"Things don't need to be perfect," Hula said, "but the Brazilians have to demonstrate that they can handle the job of organizing an event of this size."
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