March 10 - Britain's five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave has backed Rio 2016 to be a major success following a visit to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the Olympic and Paralympic rowing venue for the Games.
The 50-year-old, who won five gold medals at five successive Olympics from Los Angeles 1984 to Sydney 2000, is in Rio ahead of the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards here tomorrow.
Sir Steve predicted that the Games will be a huge triumph and was particularly impressed by the location of the Olympic and Paralympic rowing venue situated in the heart of Rio.
"It is a marvellous setting, it is absolutely stunning," he said.
"The scenery is fantastic.
"It is very rare that rowing gets to compete in the middle of a city and here in Rio you've got that.
"I think Rio will do a fantastic job.
"I think there will be a great party atmosphere and great excitement.
"We all know about the carnivals and Brazilian culture from that point of view."
Sir Steve admitted that the Rio 2016 Organising Committee have a tough act to follow after the huge success of London 2012 but urged Brazil not to follow the English example and instead create their own style of Games.
"Many people said London was the best Olympic Games there have ever been," he said.
"I'm going to be biased and agree on that because, obviously, it is where I'm from and I was involved with the Organising Committee.
"The London Games is a very tough act to follow but I'm sure Rio will do it their way, in a different way, and it will be very special.
"That is the advantage of the Games; it is not just about putting on a sporting event with all the different competitive disciplines.
"It is about living with the culture and building up the excitement of the Games.
"We certainly enjoyed that with the London Games and I'm sure Rio will do the same."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]