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João Havelange Olympic Stadium closes in public safety scare

Rio de Janeiro city officials have been forced to temporarily close the stadium which will host the athletics competitions at the 2016 Olympic Games because of structural problems with its roof.

João Havelange Olympic Stadium.

João Havelange Olympic Stadium.

The João Havelange Olympic Stadium was completed during a last-minute race to finish venues in time for the Panamerican Games. Construction of the stadium began in September 2003 and was completed in June 2007. Project engineering was provided by Andrade Rezende.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said he decided to close the venue immediately after constructors who have been monitoring the stadium’s roof notified him of the structural problems.

Paes said:

I asked them if these problems posed a threat to fans and the answer was ‘Yes,’ depending on circumstances such as wind velocity and temperature. There was a risk, so I decided to close the stadium immediately until we have more details about the solution that we will need.

“The Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee has full confidence that the city of Rio de Janeiro will take the necessary measures to guarantee that the Olympic Stadium is ready for the games more than three years from now, as well as for the test events before them,” the organising committee said in a statement.

The stadium is expected to be upgraded from 46,000 to a 60,000-capacity venue for the Olympics, when temporary seating sections will be added.