Venues ready, but many challenges remain for Rio Games

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Rio Olympics arenas and set-up, aerial photos
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Venues ready, but many challenges remain for Rio Games
An aerial view shows the X-Park at Deodoro Olympic Park ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial view shows Rio Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An athlete trains at canoe slalom at the X-Park at Deodoro Olympic Park ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows Arpoador beach (bottom) and Copacabana beach (top), which will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Men work at Rio Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows Copacabana Beach, will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial view of Copacabana Beach, which will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which will host rowing and canoe sprint, at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
The collapsed area of the new cycle lane is seen in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows Leblon Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympics golf venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Men work on the construction of a building next to the 2016 Rio Olympics golf venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Vila Autodromo slum next to 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Marina da Gloria, which will host the sailing at the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Deodoro Olympic Park ahead of 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Vila Autodromo slum next to 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial view of Copacabana Beach, which will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympics golf venue (L) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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SAO PAULO, April 26 (Reuters) - Brazil has long been known as a country that can throw a great party as long as the guests do not mind a location that still has the builders in it.

With 100 days to go before the Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro, the nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation: The venues are ready, but the host does not appear to be.

RELATED: IOC says 'confident' Rio safe for athletes despite pollution concerns

With the country's president fighting impeachment and the economy on track for its worst recession in more than a century, Brazilians are both angry and distracted.

"People are paying no attention" to the Olympics, said longtime Rio resident Julia Michaels, who chronicles the city through her Rio Real blog. "No one is talking about it at all because there are so many other things to talk about."

When Rio de Janeiro won the right to host the Games in 2009, Brazil was the darling of the developing world. Its economy had grown briskly for most of the decade, 30 million people had been lifted from poverty and the nation was assuming a prominent role in world affairs.

Since then, a collapse in commodities prices has dragged down the economy, and President Dilma Rousseff faces the prospect of being suspended from office next month on charges of budgetary fraud.

The twin meltdowns in politics and the economy have consumed Brazil, and the Olympics have all but disappeared from the front pages and TV news. In a nation where football has long been the sport that matters, politics is the only game in town.

"Brazil is going through a political crisis, and the situation has still to sort itself out," said Agatha Bednarczuk, one of the beach volleyball players who will represent her homeland.

"I think we just need to resolve the politics, and then people's attention will turn to sport."

ALMOST READY

The venues are complete except for the velodrome, which will not be ready in time for an official test event, and the athletics stadium, where the running track is being laid. Officials say both will be finished well before the Games begin on Aug. 5.

Some 36 test events have taken place at arenas and stadiums as well as on the area's beaches and mountains.

Athletes Fence on the Sands of Rio De Janeiro

But the deep recession has prompted last-minute cutbacks. Organizers withdrew plans for temporary seating at some venues, reduced the number of volunteers and briefly considered scrapping plans to provide athletes' rooms with air-conditioning.

The International Olympic Committee visited the city this month and expressed satisfaction with progress so far, albeit with the caveat that "thousands" of small details had to be finalized.

CHALLENGES

The other big issues concern Rio itself.

A planned cleanup of the bay where the sailing and open water swimming events will take place did not happen. Although officials say the race lanes will be pristine, the Olympics will not produce the promised legacy of clear waters.

An outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects in hundreds of children in northern Brazil, has caused widespread panic and prompted some fans and even some athletes to consider skipping the Games.

Questions remain about whether the new metro line leading from the populous South Side of Rio to the Olympic Park area will be ready in time. The line has yet to be completed and will start operations without prolonged tests, if any at all.

Crime remains a major concern. Drug traffickers have again taken over slums that community police had pacified ahead of the 2014 World Cup, and shootings have become more common, blogger Michaels said.

In the first three months of this year, 432 people were murdered in the city, according to government statistics.

The deaths of two people on a new seafront cycle lane that was touted as part of the Olympics legacy have shaken residents. The lane collapsed when a strong wave swept up the sea wall on Thursday.

Such stories may be partly responsible for slow demand for tickets, with only 62 percent sold so far, according to Phil Wilkinson, spokesman for Rio 2016 organizing committee.

Visa Inc said on Tuesday that it expects 400,000 to 500,000 international travelers to visit Rio for the games, less than the 590,000 tourists who attended the last summer Olympics in London in 2012.

In true Brazilian style, though, officials say they expect the Games to turn out fine.

"When the athletes arrive and sport begins, the country will get behind it, and we will see an excitable and passionate audience engage with the Games," Wilkinson said.

"We are confident that, 100 days out, we are in a good position."

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