Bob Costas spoke about the much-publicized issues with the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Tuesday.
“There are serious issues and that will be a story at the end of this: if [Rio] can surmount those issues and pull of a successful games,” Costas said. He also acknowledged that discussing things like Zika will be inevitable.
“It’s going to be impossible not to address some of the issues, because they will directly intersect with the competition,” he said, specifically mentioning the condition of the water for the swimming and other water-based events.
Costas also said that he interviewed the mayor of the Brazilian city hosting the games and that the politician was very candid about the issues facing the summer games. “He’s straightforward in acknowledging that these problems exist,” the NBC anchor said.
Costas added that the Rio mayor “never expected the Olympics to solve hundreds of years worth of social problems,” such as concerns over gang activity and sanitation. He also stated several times that concerns over preparedness going into Olympic events is nothing new.
Many athletes have said that they would be sitting out this year’s games due to concerns over the Zika virus, which can be spread by mosquitoes and cause birth defects.
Beyond Zika and water-cleanliness fears, there have been serious questions over Brazil’s ability to host the Olympics. The country has been hit with a serious economic recession and the impeachment of its president, Dilma Rousseff.