RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro conjures clear images of sun, samba and soccer. Organizers of the Olympics that start a year from now hope that's what people remember after the games — not images of polluted water, inefficient transportation and incomplete venues.

The Rio Olympics that start Aug. 5, 2016, follow last year's World Cup, which ended with mixed results.

A year of protests over lavish spending on soccer stadiums dissolved once the World Cup started. Fans from around the world embraced Brazil, and the stadiums looked ready enough on television even if many were still incomplete. Several have become underused white elephants" that cost local governments millions to maintain.

Now come the Summer Games, which are more complex and put Brazil under scrutiny again.

Instead of a one-month tournament with 730 players, the 16-day Olympics feature 28 sports, 300 events and 10,500 athletes; almost all in a metropolitan area of about 12 million people.

Construction got off to a slow start. And so did ticket sales.

"If you compare our numbers with the classic London numbers, you're going to see that we got off a little late," said Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio Olympics. He called Brazilians "last-minute people."

"But there's no doubt in our minds that we are going to sell out the tickets."

It will take years to know if the Olympics improved life for  Cariocas, as Rio residents are known. And if so, who profited the most from spending $12 billion in public and private money.

The head of the local organizing committee Carlos Nuzman says Rio will be the Olympic city with the "greatest transformation," surpassing Tokyo in 1964 and Barcelona in 1992.

An Olympics can change a city's reputation for good or bad.

Beijing showcased a rising power, but outsiders also glimpsed the control of an authoritarian state. Athens took a beating for preparations __ similar to Rio — and some of Greece's financial problems are linked Olympic spending.

At quick look at preparations with South America's first games opening Aug. 5, 2016.



The sailing and wind-surfing venue in Guanabara Bay, and the rowing and canoeing venue at the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, feature beautiful backdrops spoiled by sewage-filled water and floating debris. Rio officials promised cleaning the bay would be an Olympic legacy. But Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes has said that won't happen. A dramatic photo in the Rio newspaper O Globo recently showed trash wrapped around the tail of a dolphin in the bay.

Rio hopes to get by with stopgaps; a fleet of rubbish collection boats and barricades built where garbage gushes in from hilltop slums.

Some sailors competing in test events in Rio have called Guanabara Bay "an open sewer," and many have tried to minimize contact with the water to avoid illnesses.

"I don't think I would go swimming in that lagoon," said Matt Smith, head of the World Rowing Federation.



The new Olympic golf course and the athletes' village will become luxury real estate develpments after the Olympics. The units at the golf course start at about $2 million. The projects involve public and private money, with much of the income going to the private developers.

Two largely government-funded developments are a subway extension from central Rio into Barra da Tijuca — the heart of the games — and rapid transit bus lines that reach many corners of the city. The subway line extension faces a tight deadline.

"The subway line is going to be delivered just before the games, so of course we're worried about that," said Sidney Levy, CEO of the organizing committee.

Part of the Olympic Park will serve afterward as Brazil's Olympic training center. A section of the Olympic Park will become residential space. Some of that space has yet to be vacated with residents in a slum called Vila Autodromo holding out for better compensation.



Street crime in Rio has spiked as drug traffickers in the city's slums — known as favelas — fight back against police and soldiers trying to "pacify" the neighborhoods. Muggings are increasing in the upscale south and west of the city, which will host most of the Olympics. A cyclist was recently stabbed to death at the Olympic rowing venue.

City officials are confident the problems won't leak over to the Olympics.

"The World Cup was organized without any major incidents, and we expect that this will be the same for the games," said Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games Executive Director.



President Dilma Rousseff, whose popularity has plunged as the country slides in recession, said recently she will be more involved in Olympic preparations. She's hoping the Olympics will improve the country's mood, and boost her poll numbers.

Levy says the games should inspire Brazilians, and they could use some.

State-run oil company Petrobras lost $2.1 billion in a kickback scheme that saw firm executives take bribes for awarding inflated contracts. In June, police arrested the CEOs of two of Brazil's largest construction companies, including the head of Odebrecht, which helped build many World Cup and Olympic venues.

Levy, the CEO, has repeated often that Rio is running clean games devoid of corruption.



A last-minute rush seems inevitable, and late work is sure to drive up costs.

Levy seems relaxed, particularly with the two biggest stadiums — both soccer facilities — already constructed.

"We're not building anything big," he said. "We're not building a cathedral."

A study by Said Business School at Oxford University of Olympic Games since 1960 showed each one had cost overruns.

"No other type of megaproject is this consistent regarding cost overrun," authors Bent Flyvberg and Allison Stewart wrote.  "Other project types are typically on budget from time to time, but not the Olympics."


Sebastian Coe's campaign to become the next President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has received a major boost after he was promised the backing of the Athletic Association Small States of Europe (AASSE), a group of countries who between them have nine votes, and Ireland.

Jonas Egilsson, President of the AASSE, revealed that the group which comprises Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro and San Marino had decided to back Britain's double Olympic gold medallist following his promise to give an Olympic Athletics Dividend of at least $100,000 (£64,000/€91,000) over four years to all 214 members of the IAAF.

Athletics Ireland, meanwhile, has promised to support Coe because of the "outstanding job" he did as chairman of London 2012.

“Seb Coe has all the characteristics, experience and know-how the sport needs in a new leader and we are very happy to confirm in an open manner that we will be voting for him," Ciarán Ó Catháin, President of Athletics Ireland, said.

"He did an outstanding job as chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Games and has proven time and time again he has the morals, vision, leadership skills and passion to lead athletics into a successful future."

More Federations are expected to publicly back Coe's bid later this week.

“The Board of Athletics Ireland completely support my view on this, and having discussed this with many other Federations throughout Europe and the rest of the world, we are confident he will be elected President in four weeks’ time," said Ó Catháin.

“I have discussed his plans extensively with Seb and they mirror the vision of Athletics Ireland in trying to grow the popularity of the sport and bring athletics to new audiences."

Some consolation for Coe's rival, Ukraine's Sergey Bubka, was that Egilsson did promise to vote for him as vice-president.

"Sergey Bubka is an experienced administrator and servant of athletics and we will be voting for him to be vice-president to ensure that these two giants of athletics continue to serve our sport in the years ahead," Egilsson said.

The announcement from the AASSE and Ireland follows earlier pledges from Australia, Germany, Jamaica and New Zealand to back Coe in the election at the IAAF Congress in Beijing on August 19.

Coe is widely seen as the favourite to succeed Senegal's Lamine Diack, who is stepping down after 16 years in the role.

Under the IAAF's one country, one vote system it means the backing of the AASSE and Ireland is just as important as getting the support of leading athletics powers like the United States and Russia.

Coe has already called for a greater focus on creating and supporting strong regional competitions to enhance Member Federation development and create new opportunities for athletes.

“It is especially important for smaller nations and their athletes to have more opportunities to compete at international events given that they are often not able to field large teams at the Olympic Games or IAAF World Championships," he said.

"By creating strong regional championships that cater for both major and developing athletics nations, you provide athletes with international level experience and a clear route map for top level competition outside of their own borders.

"This is a win-win for the athletes, their Member Federations and for growing interest in the sport in emerging nations.

“I very much endorse the recent news by European Athletics which is to provide support for a new competition to be organised by the Small States of Europe in the Olympic year, starting in 2016."


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee concluded the second leg of its 13th Annual Olympic Youth Camp at Guardian Holdings Limited, Westmoorings on 25th July 2015. This marked the end of a two week camp from the 6th – 11th (Tobago) and 20th – 25th July (Trinidad) that targeted athletes in the eleven to fourteen age groups.

The theme this year ‘10Golds2024' or “10G24” encouraged young athletes to Strive for Excellence in their sporting discipline and also exemplified  the Olympic Principles of Fair Play, Respect for Others, Joy of Effort and Balance between Body, Will and Mind.  Youth Facilitators (past campers) explained these principles through engaging drama and team building exercises.

Life skill sessions focused on Media Interview Training, Athlete Welfare, Setting Goals (Donald La Guerre, Sport Psychologist), Anti –Doping (Andre Collins, Caribbean Sport and Development Agency),  Critical Thinking (Save our Children Foundation) , Sport for Development and Peace (Janine Thornhill, Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group member) and HIV/AIDS Awareness (Youth Department, THA).

The closing of the camp was fashioned after the Opening Ceremony of an Olympic Games, with Trinidad and Tobago as the host country. Campers paraded flags from Tokyo 1964 to London 2012 Olympics. In addition, the campers wore decorated face masks showcasing the Olympic Flag, Olympic Flame, Peace and Trinidad and Tobago that was created for their art project during the camp.

In Trinidad, campers presented their art pieces on 10Golds24 vision which highlighted aspects they believe are essential to achieving a gold medal. They emphasized sound morals and values, self-confidence, enjoyment of their sport, balance between school and training, respect for their competitors and support from family, friends, coaches, medical personnel and sponsors.  The campers also highlighted the significance of inclusion of the differently abled in sport, and the need to stay away from crime, violence and drugs in order to achieve their goals.

The participants were able to learn new sports from their fellow campers such as cycling, badminton, archery, triathlon, hockey, volleyball, badminton, chess, basketball, football and netball. They were also exposed to Jump Rope (Thandiwe Prescott).

Most impactful for the young participants was the athlete mentors; Mark Anthony Honore (Volleyball), Kairon Pollard (Cricket), Akanni Hislop (Track and Field, Youth Olympian),  Pietra Gay (Basketball, Women's NBA) Sherridan Kirk (Olympian) and Jeannette Small and Kwanieze John (Young Ambassadors Nanjing 2014 and Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics).

The TTOC will like to encourage athletes and mentors interested in the Olympic Youth Camp to send their profiles to the TTOC at

Special Thanks to the Tobago House of Assembly, Scotia Bank Limited and Guardian Group, Lisa Communications and BPTT for their continued support in the development of our nation’s young athletes.


Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel will face defending champions Barbados Tridents in the Hero Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 final today after defeating two-time finalists Guyana Amazon Warriors by six wickets in the second semifinal at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, last night.

It is the first time the Dwayne Bravo-led side will contest the final and they will have the momentum heading into that match.

But the Red Steel have had mixed results against the defending champs, losing to them earlier this season before whipping the Kieron Pollard-led side at the Oval the second time around.

Pollard’s team booked an automatic place in the final for the second straight year after topping the standings while the Red Steel came from the last place to earn a spot in the final four and now have a chance to clinch the trophy and the US$400,000 winner-take-all jackpot.

Last night, the home fans had a lot to cheer about after the Amazon Warriors opted to bat first and were restricted to 109 for nine off their 20 overs with only Lendl Simmons standing up to the Red Steel bowling attack.

Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal then came to the party for the Red Steel, smashing 49 off 41 balls to set up the win as the home side replied with 109 for four off 18.2 overs.

When the visitors batted, Simmons smashed 64 off 51 balls with eight fours. He gave the Amazon Warriors a good start, putting on 19 in the first three overs before Kevon Cooper pulled the game back for the Red Steel.

Cooper got Trevon Griffith with his third ball of the game before the Red Steel spinners really tightened the screws.

Left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn removed the Amazon Warriors captain Denesh Ramdin with the score on 50 in the eighth over before leg-spinner Samuel Badree sent back Brad Hodge and the promoted Sunil Narine in the next over to put the hosts in control.

Only Simmons troubled the Red Steel bowlers, reaching his half-century with a four off Benn. Christopher Barnwell was the only other batsman to reach double figures. He hit 12 off 17 balls before he was run out in the 15th over with the score progressing to 77 for six.

The Red Steel suffered a few scares in their reply when they lost Cameron Delport and Jacques Kallis early but the hosts were never in any real danger.

Kamran Akmal dispelled any fears as he took the attack to Veerasammy Permaul in the fifth over, smashing a four and a six to deep midwicket as the hosts progressed from 14 for one after four overs to 27 for one after five.

Akmal went after David Wiese in the next over hitting five fours to get the home crowd fired up.

Even after Kallis departed the Oval crowd was still on its feet as Darren Bravo walked to the middle.

The left-hander smacked Narine for two fours to announce his arrival before pulling Devendra Bishoo for six over the Trini Posse Stand.

But he departed shortly after for 22 off 17 while Akmal was bowled by Narine with the score on 85 for five to slow the chase but there were no more scares for the Red Steel as skipper Dwayne Bravo and Jason Mohammed guided their team safely across the finish line.

The final bowls off today at 4:30 p.m.


Following a thorough review of the official match report and video footage from the Gold Cup 2015 semi-final match between Panama and Mexico, in Atlanta on Wednesday evening, the Panamanian Football Federation was fined an undisclosed amount for team misconduct both on and off the field by the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association (CONCACAF).

Additionally, Panamanian player Jaime Penedo was suspended two matches for pushing the assistant referee following the conclusion of the match. The first game of the suspension was to be served for yesterday's Gold Cup 2015 third place match, and the second for Panama's next official senior national team engagement.

Fellow Panamanian player Luis Tejada was also sanctioned with a two-match ban, one match for the red card received in the semi-final match and an additional match for failing to leave the field in a timely manner following the ejection.

The Gold Cup Disciplinary Committee also levied fines of undisclosed amounts on Mexican national team head coach Miguel Herrera and United States player Michael Bradley, for infractions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015 media regulations.


Pan American Games shot putt gold medallist Cleopatra Borel and current national female boxing coach Ria Ramnarine are throwing their support behind Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis’ proposal for elite athlete housing assistance policy and programme.

Borel, who took home Pan Am gold and a medal bonus of US$3,000 from the meet in Toronto, Canada says she agrees with the proposal, “because as an elite level athlete, we make a lot of sacrifices in our personal lives and also financially because for some of us we would be in a better position financially if we were in another occupation and I believe that after you have done a number of years of service for your country, well it is nice to know that you have a small place in that country to call home just like other services people like firemen, police officers and such. “

Borel said elite athletes were not asking for free housing but to be afforded the opportunity to purchase a home.

“Elite athletes want the same thing like everyone else, we want a place, you know, that sort of security that we can afford a place where I can live and have a happy family life after my career is ended” the Pan Am champ says.

Borel said T&T athletes love representing the country but that to compete at the level they compete at requires “a 100 per cent commitment” and having to worry about a roof over their heads while preparing for world and international competition is an unnecessary distraction that could detract from performance.

“To be placed in a nice surrounding and to have that sort of security is important to us,” she said.

Borel added the T&T public would be surprised to know the circumstances some elite athletes exist under.

Ramnarine, a four-time world champion, also believes the athlete housing proposal is a great one.

For more reasons than one.

“First we have to make the athletes as comfortable as possible with regards to their training. It helps them to train better, be in a better frame of mind, the mental focus is there .

Speaking of her experience of applying for HDC housing since 1999, Ramnarine adds:

“The reason why I am saying that is coming from my athletic background itself and struggling to locating housing, I went through the process and it was incredibly difficult.“

Ramnarine said she is currently coaching a female athlete who qualified for the Pan Am Games but who is struggling to keep the roof over her head.

“Because of her training regime, three times a day, she is not working and what little savings she has is quickly dwindling because rent is very high, a high cost everywhere.... I am surprised that the relevant authorities have not taken it and ran with it, “she states.

Ramnarine said she felt really helpless and got flashbacks to her own situation when she was seeking housing as a world class athlete.

“It really touches my heart and I would take her into my home if I had the space for her. And as I said, it would not be for everyone but for athletes who have proven themselves and who have met certain objectives and athletes who are deserving based on that criteria.