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Free Rio Olympic tickets will be offered to diversify crowds, reports say

Christ the Redeemer

Sugar Loaf Mountain stands behind Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, June 27, 2014. Rio is one of many Brazilian cities hosting this month’s World Cup soccer tournament. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)


Rio de Janeiro’s mayor said some 2016 Olympic tickets will be given away, to make crowds more diverse than at the World Cup, according to reports.

“What we will do is give some subsidies for some of the tickets,” mayor Eduardo Paes told reporters in Rio on Friday, according to Bloomberg. “We will try to do something more democratic.”

Bloomberg cited a poll stating that 90 percent of the crowd at Brazil’s round of 16 win over Chile on June 28 came from the nation’s top two economic classes, which make up 15 percent of the population.

Paes also updated Olympic preparations, saying 55 percent of venues were ready or being adapted, according to Agence France-Presse.

“I think all the criticism that we faced before the World Cup helped a lot to smooth concerns about the Olympic Games,” Paes said, according to AFP. “This mistrust that we had two months ago, we don’t face anymore.

“I’m not saying that we have an easy task ahead of us. It’s not easy to do the Olympics. We still have lots of work ahead of us, but we are confident that we will deliver things on time.”

Paes said work was being accelerated on Guanabara Bay, whose water pollution levels came under scrutiny in May. A test event is scheduled there in August.

“It’s going to be clean, there’s no risk for the athletes,” Paes said. “There are some problems far away from the Olympic space.”

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, said the 2016 Olympics will be the nation’s “top priority” come Monday, the day after the World Cup final in Rio. Rousseff met with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Friday.

“I was pleased to hear the confidence President Rousseff has in the Games and what they will deliver, and it was good to hear that the Games and their legacy will be a top priority,” Bach said, according to a press release. “The IOC will contribute $1.5 billion to the Games, which will leave a huge sporting, economic and social legacy.”

Bach will be at the Maracanã Stadium on Sunday to watch Argentina face his native Germany. In 2016, the Maracanã will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in addition to the gold-medal soccer games.

IOC president: ‘Still no time to lose’

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