(ATR) The Rio 2016 Summer Games will be one month away on Tuesday, July 5 as athletes around the world begin to fine tune their preparations.
As the athletes prepare for the biggest event of their lives, organizers are racing to the finish line to deliver the Olympics after a series of public relations disasters have resulted in staunch media criticism of the host country Brazil.
Concerns over the mosquito-borne Zika virus causing athletes such as golfers to decline participating in the Games, water pollution at Guanabara Bay and the pending impeachment of Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff all have contributed to the negative press organizers are dealing with on a daily basis. Delays in venue construction and transportation infrastructure projects have also dampened the spirits surrounding the Rio Games.
However, the organizing committee and the IOC continue to express confidence that the Games will be staged without a hitch and that the multitude of issues surrounding them will not tarnish the legacy of the event.
In order to commemorate the one-month countdown, Brazil’s sports minister Leonardo Picciani will hold a teleconference with the international media on Thursday to discuss final preparations by the state and the status of any remaining projects. The question-answer portion of the conference will likely be dominated by questions pertaining to Zika, water quality and security in Rio de Janeiro.
The one month countdown will also feature a soft opening of the Main Press Center at the Olympic Park. Press organizations with offices in the MPC will have the opportunity to check out their future digs.
The Rio 2016 torch relay will continue its journey across the country by spending the week in the Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul. The relay will tour 26 cities within Rio Grande do Sul before moving on to Santa Catarina.
The Rio Olympics begin Aug. 5 and conclude on Aug. 21.
WADA Expected to Respond to U.S. Senate Inquiry
WADA president Craig Reedie (ATR)
The World Anti-Doping Agency will likely tell the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee why it delayed investigating claims of widespread doping within Russian athletics on July 5.
U.S. Senator John Thune sent a seven-page letter to WADA president Craig Reedie on June 20 requesting more information about the Russian investigations and saying that WADA must “heed the calls from athletes and others to expand the scope of the ongoing investigation to include additional sports, other countries and previous games”.
"And, WADA must address claims that it lacks the procedures and independence to fulfill its mission to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sports,” Thune wrote.
WADA president Craig Reedie says WADA has "received a request for information and will respond as invited to do," by the July 5 deadline provided in the letter.
Thune is questioning the investigative powers of WADA due to the amount of money that the U.S. has contributed to the agency’s anti-doping efforts. Since 2003, Thune says the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy has contributed more than $25 million to WADA to help protect the rights of clean athletes.
Oscar Pistorius at London 2012 (Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius to Learn Fate
The embattled former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will learn his fate at the hands of a South African judge on Wednesday.
The athlete known as ‘Blade Runner’ was found guilty of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013 and could face up to 15 years in prison. He was originally found not guilty but the top appeals court in South Africa overturned the decision and found him guilty in December 2015.
Presiding Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa is expected to deliver the mandatory sentence of 15 years unless the judge finds substantial and compelling reasons for a lesser sentence.
Tour de France Underway
One of the world’s most recognizable races enters the third stage Monday as cyclists traverse the second-longest of the 21 Tour de France stages through Granville and Angers.
The Tour de France got underway on Saturday, July 2 comes to a close on July 24. Chris Froome of Great Britain will seek to defend title and win the Tour in consecutive years.
Organizers of this year’s event are placing extra emphasis on catching riders who are using hidden motors in their bicycles to crack down on cheating. Officials will scan the athlete’s bikes with thermal imaging to eliminate any extra advantages.
Around the Rings Atlanta Office Closed Monday
In recognition of the United States' Independence Day the Around the Rings
' headquarters in Atlanta will be closed on Monday, July 4.
Our international team of writers will still bring you the latest news and updates from the Olympic Movement.
Written by Kevin Nutley
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