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Sports leaders optimistic about 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics

Sports leaders optimistic about 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics
Francesco Ricci Bitti,president of Assn. of Summer Olympic International Federations, at a Federation Cup tennis match in Sochi, Russia, on April 17. (Yevgeny Reutov / EPA)

It was a year ago that a group of major sports leaders expressed grave concern over preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Now, that same group is praising Brazil for a dramatic turnaround.

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"The situation is totally changed," said Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of Assn. of Summer Olympic International Federations.

The Brazilian effort has struggled through construction delays, bureaucratic chaos and public protest.

There are still concerns about pollution and other issues, but many of the Rio venues are now on track for a timely completion.

"Not everything will be perfect, but it is always like that," Ricci Bitti was quoted as saying at his organization's general assembly on Wednesday. "The progress is significant. I am very optimistic about these Games."

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