By Paul Osborne

The United States Olympic Committee has praised the progress being made in preparations for Rio 2016 ©Rio 2016The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has sung praise for the progress being made ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games following the organisation's biggest site visit yet.

More than 60 delegates from the USOC made a three-day trip to the Barra Olympic Park and Athletes' Village as they visited a number of key Games facilities, with a special focus on logistical planning for their biggest medal hopes.

USOC managing director Leslie Gamez, making her fifth visit to Rio de Janeiro, claimed the delegation had seen "stunning progress" in preparations for the Games.

"It's been super-great, we've seen some stunning progress," she said.

"In terms of the infrastructure, hotels are being built, the progress at the Olympic Park [in Barra] is amazing, the Olympic Village continues to be impressive – it looks really wonderful, it's a great location and I think our teams are going to be really comfortable there."

Gamez added that colleagues had also been pleased after a visit to the site of Rio's second Olympic Park, in Deodoro, a that has faced wide-spread criticism for its delayed construction work.

"A number of our teams went yesterday and said they had a very good visit," she said.

While the United States has hosted four editions of the Summer Games, Rio 2016 will be the first time the event has been held in South America,something Gomez noted as "game changing".

Among the cities that Rio de Janeiro beat to be awarded the Games was Chicago. 

"This is the perfect place to host the Games," she said.

"It's a wonderful culture and the people are so warm and welcoming, and it's a beautiful location.

"I love Brazil and I think everybody in our delegation does, because it's such a sporting country and you feel the enthusiasm and passion for sports in everyone you meet - from hotel owners to taxi drivers, everybody just seems so jazzed about the upcoming Games."

More than 60 members of the United States Olympic Committee visited key facilities in Rio de Janeiro this week ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ©Rio 2016/Mathilde MollaMore than 60 members of the United States Olympic Committee visited key facilities in Rio de Janeiro this week ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ©Rio 2016/Mathilde Molla

As is the norm at the Olympic Games, the US will field one of the largest delegations with around 575 athletes expected to compete at the event, and support staff taking this total to more than 1,000.

The latest USOC visit saw a number of key sports represented, including swimming, athletics, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball wrestling and rowing, with USOC chief of sport Alan Ashley on hand to oversee them all.

This was Ashley's tenth pre-Games visit to Rio and one of the most positive in terms of progress.

"There's been lots of progress, things are really good," he said.

"The Village and the Olympic Park in Barra are really shaping up nicely.

"We have seen a lot of progress in the last year, and even since the World Cup finished [in July]."

Looking past Rio 2016, the United States has high hopes that they can secure the hosting rights to the 2024 edition of the Games with a bid expected from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington.

"We're always hopeful that the Olympic Games will come back to the United States because the legacy is so important and we're proud to showcase any of our cities," said Gomez. 

"It would mean so much to our nation and so much to our athletes."

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