Olympic site used for 2016 Rio games shut over safety issues

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro has been closed over concerns about the safety of the complex used for the 2016 games in Brazil.

City authorities closed the park on Friday after a judge ruled that safety licenses were not in order.

The city had appealed the judge’s decision, saying it would affect about 900 athletes training at the Olympic Park. The city said it is seeking a certificate to operate from the firefighting department and that it hopes the park will reopen soon.

Residents were disappointed that the park had closed.

“During the Olympic Games, everything was great,” said Fabio Costa, a 43-year-old business administrator. “And today this neglect with our money… We see that a dream became a white elephant. This is very sad, specially to the people who live in the region.”

Alexandre Camargo, a 37-year-old Catholic priest, said the Olympic Park had been a refuge.

“We have few places like that in Rio de Janeiro, where you can walk safely,” he said. “You can’t ride a bicycle with your children in heavy traffic, so here is an excellent place for that. But, unfortunately, it’s closed and we’re frustrated.”

Rio spent about $12 billion on the 2016 Olympics. There were concerns about alleged corruption linked to the construction of some facilities as well as how Brazil would use them after the games ended.

Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games this year.

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