Given the amount of issues facing the games, the Rio Olympics were a relative success. The Paralympics will apparently have to fight a similar uphill battle.
Organizers of the Paralympics, which start on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, are facing significant obstacles. In fact, according to International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven, these are the most daunting issues the Paralympics have ever faced.
“This is the worst situation that we’ve ever found ourselves in at Paralympic movement,” Craven told The Associated Press. “We were aware of difficulties, but we weren’t aware it was as critical as this.”
The Paralympics, which feature 4,300 athletes from 161 nations, are struggling mostly due to a lack of financing. The games will face scaled back venues, seating and staffing.
According to the AP, a last-minute Brazilian government bailout helped the event from falling short of its privately funded operating budget.
Craven said that he was notified about five weeks ago by the Rio Olympic organizing committee that there was no money left to run the Paralympics. The committee told him that slow ticket and sponsorship sales, along with the cost of running the Olympics, led to that lack of funding.
“That’s been a problem with the organizing committee — not knowing information,” Craven said.
In order to run the event, the Rio city government pitched in $46.3 million, and the federal government has guaranteed another $30.7 million. Craven thinks that this influx of funds will lead to “a very good games.”
No sports or nations have been cut out of the games besides the entire delegation from Russia, which was disqualified due to its involvement in the nationwide doping scandal.
The Olympic organizers were able to pull off a relatively successful two weeks despite the rough start, and it looks like the Paralympic organizers are now tasked with doing same.
The Paralympics run from Sept. 7-18.