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Sports now taking over at Rio Games – IOC

2016 Rio Olympics

Sports now taking over at Rio Games – IOC

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Aug. 8, 2016 (NAN) Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President on Monday said sport was now moving centre stage with competitors delivering world-class performances at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Bach noted that after a frantic seven-year preparation in which Rio Olympics organizers rushed to get ready for South America’s first Games, sport was now moving center stage with competitors delivering world-class performances.

He noted that more than half a dozen world records have tumbled on the first two days of full competition adding, “more athletes, some yet unknown, will leave their mark here.

“I think you can see from the great performances of the athletes that there are very good conditions; you see many personal bests,” he said on Monday.

Six swimming world records have now fallen in two days of competition in the pool alone, with more world records set in archery and weightlifting in the past two days.

“You see even world records in many disciplines, the athletes are feeling well, they are well prepared so sport is taking over now,” Bach, a former Olympic fencing gold medalist, said.

The German, who took over the IOC in 2013 and is overseeing his first summer Games as president, also said the atmosphere at the Olympic Park in Barra de Tijuca was improving after teething problems in the first few days.

About 150,000 visitors entered the multi-stadium complex on Sunday.

“You see, on the other hand, also a very good atmosphere, the Cariocas (Rio residents) now they embrace the Games, they come to the Olympic Park, they enjoy the competitions and the Olympic atmosphere.

“So I think after a splendid opening ceremony it’s a pretty good start for these Games,’’ he said.

With U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps claiming a record-extending 19th Olympic gold medal on Sunday as he kicked off his quest for more titles and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt preparing for an unprecedented third straight 100 meters victory, the Games were now hitting their stride.

But Bach said little-known athletes were also ready to shine.

“In the Olympic Games it’s not always only about the stars who we know already. Usually at the Olympic Games new stars are born and I’m sure this will be the same here,” he added.

“That we will see new names coming up; that we will see even more surprises.

“We have already seen (that) in a couple of sports where we have young athletes coming out of nowhere and winning Olympic medals.” (NAN/Reuters)