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Successful World Cup has IOC optimistic about 2016 Rio Olympics

The construction site of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games athletes village is pictured from above in Rio de Janeiro

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The construction site of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games athletes village is pictured from above in Rio de Janeiro June 27, 2014. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS BUSINESS CONSTRUCTION CITYSCAPE)

Back in the spring, Rio's Olympic preparations were in shambles, with International Olympic Committee members saying Brazil's readiness for the 2016 Games was the "worst" they had ever seen. Arenas and parks remain unbuilt, waterways remain polluted, and the IOC had to issue a denial of a rumor that the Olympics would be moved back to London. In short, everything was a mess.

Amazing what a successful World Cup performance can do.

With a relatively pain-free World Cup nearing its close, the IOC is expressing satisfaction with the progress of development for the Olympics two years hence. In an interview with the AP, IOC executive director Gilbert Felli said that the progress has improved considerably in the last two months.

"Of course it remains tense," Felli said, "but we should look with more optimism."

He noted that all projects should be on schedule by September. “Until the games are delivered I’m always concerned. But it’s not the case to say we’re not going to make it," Felli said. "My view is we will make it and the Brazilians will deliver excellent games. But we have to work every day for it. Nothing is a done deal."

There are concerns, including the water's cleanliness and other logistical concerns such as the number of hotel rooms. And the fact that the World Cup was finished in the final moments before the first kickoffs was a matter of some concern to the IOC, noting that the fear is that Brazilians will assume that the Olympics will get done simply because the World Cup did.

“They like adrenaline, to be pushed in the last minute on some issues,” Felli said. “So then we try to explain the games cannot be like this. We’ve been able to explain that.”

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter.

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