Olympic organizers are battling to save the $10 billion Games from becoming a fiasco, Daily Mail Online can reveal.
The games are engulfed in a desperate last-minute building and repair operation as the first of more than 10,000 athletes begin to arrive in Rio.
Daily Mail Online discovered the Rio Olympic authorities have their work cut out for them with only five weeks and two full days to go before the Opening Ceremony on August 5.
And these exclusive pictures show, that despite being given seven years to prepare, vital roads, transport and structural work are still to be completed. In contrast, 90 per cent of construction of the venues for the 2012 Games in London was completed with a year to go.
The clock is ticking down towards when the 750-strong US team are due to appear in the opening ceremony while crucial development of facilities is still needed.
The combination of unfinished facilities along with safety and health fears, have also led US athletes to make late changes to their travel plans with some heading to Argentina instead to prepare.
Athletes and fans will be disappointed to discover that Rio has still not managed to sign off several key venues for the 2016 games and the city is littered with Olympic eyesores.
Electrical cables hang from above over cracked walkways in streets leading to venues, footbridges are closed off due to unfinished cementing and key transport links are in chaos.
Cracked footpaths, collapsed drains and waters filled with garbage and smelling of raw sewage are adding to the Olympic misery.
Seating in several spectator stands have yet to be installed and some stands are propped up by scaffolding as builders carry out the work which many would have hoped would have been completed months ago.
These are sights that the International Olympic Committee would not have expected to see after awarding the games to Rio seven years ago.
Inside the main Olympic Park at Barra, about an hour from the center of Rio, the sound of constant drilling and banging illustrates the urgency.
Construction diggers work around the clock to prepare land around the arena where Britain’s Andy Murray will try to defend his tennis Olympic title.
Organizers insist the tennis arena’s courts and seating are complete, but teams of workers are still tending to the problems.
Daily Mail Online found scaffolding being used by construction workers around the tennis arena’s stands and truck after truck ferrying tons of concrete and rubble from where work is continuing in the area.
Men wearing safety helmets lined up like ‘chain gangs’ on perimeter roads, drilling, painting, excavating and installing squares of grass.
At the X-Park at Deodoro Olympic Park, a few miles away, scores of workers are busy installing seating and spectator facilities.
Three events, Mountain and BMX competition and canoe slalom, are set to be held there, but work is some way from being completed.
Dozens of constructors are still attempting to build spectator facilities, complete internal roads and outer fencing.
A group of carpenters worked busily erecting wooden viewing areas for the canoe slalom and rows of plants which were installed in the hope they would be ready for the games, have failed to flourish.
Several spectator stands remain without seats installed and the skeletal stands present an eerie image. The seats, we discovered, were stacked a few hundred yards away in containers.
One of the biggest let-downs is the late completion of the much-vaunted new metro extension from the center of Rio to Barra.
Thousands of Olympic fans are expected to use the service daily to access venues at Barra, but the new train line will fall about five miles short of the Olympic Park as finance has ran out.
Olympic fans will be frustrated to find they will be forced to wait for buses to take them onto the venues.
The subway extension is still being built and contractors are on site with diggers and other construction equipment while traffic is pushed away to allow work to continue.
When Daily Mail Online visited the Jardim Oceanico station, which was meant to be finished last year, dozens of workers were beneath the streets drilling and installing panels.
The subway extension was due to be open and running months ago, but officials now say it will be in operation from August 1, four days before the Games.
It links Ipanema and Copacabana beach areas to Barra Olympic Park.
Only event ticket holders, athletes and media covering the Games will be allowed to use the link.
Locals expressed fears that insufficient time will have been allowed for safety tests and runs.
The escalators were covered in dust and workers were carrying out their tasks in the dark.
Across the street, the bus station where spectators will be directed to, was far from complete with heavy lifting machinery and diggers at work.
Traffic is set to be nightmare around the Olympic Park at Barra where motorists will have a single lane to enter and leave the area.
What Rio SHOULD Look Like
The second lane has been commandeered and turned into an ‘Olympic Rio 2016′ route with promises that athletes will need only 10 minutes to reach their events from the village.
On top of the rush to prepare the Olympics for more than 500,000 visitors, officials are sending out reassurances that the feared Zika virus will not be a danger to those who defy advice by the World Health Organization and travel to Brazil.
Infested open waters near Olympic complexes are being land filled to prevent mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus, from laying their eggs and worsening conditions.
Golfers Rory McIlroy, who would compete for Ireland, and Australia’s Jason Day, the world number one, have pulled out citing the fear of Zika.
A series of NBA athletes are also not going – including LeBron James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory in the NBA finals earlier this month, and Steph Curry, whose Golden State Warriors he defeated.
Neither mentioned Zika in their reasons for not attending, but
Ponds and swamps near the Olympic Park in Barra, where 17,000 athletes will be housed, emit a foul stench.
Workers have been urinating into the water and in fields nearby where they were working to complete venues.
One local resident Christina Silva, 25, said she had tentatively welcomed the Olympics, but had since changed her stance.
‘Many young people like me felt the same; that the Olympics would be good for Brazil. But I have since realized it is going to be good for two weeks and means very little to us as Brazilians.
‘Having the World Cup here in 2014 and then the Olympics so close, is too much. We are a poor country and it is far more important to spend the money on health care. There has been a lot of words of corruption and the costs have gone up and up.’
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.