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Rio officials had to open Olympic Stadium with bolt cutters after losing key

(David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will not take place until Friday, but the Games’ soccer tournament began Wednesday, partly because of the large number of events scheduled to take place at the city’s Olympic Stadium. It’s probably a good thing there was something of a trial run, because when officials went to open a main gate before Wednesday’s action, they discovered a bit of a problem: They had misplaced the key.

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Security personnel had to find bolt cutters and break the lock before media members and others could access the stadium’s mixed area through the gate. That came after some confusion, as reported by the BBC’s Julia Carneiro, over which entrance people were supposed to use.

Fortunately, the first Olympic event being held at the stadium was a sparsely attended women’s soccer match between Sweden and South Africa. Rio officials will want to track down that key (and maybe put it under a mat?) before thousands descend on Olympic Stadium for the start of track and field in the Games’ second week.

Ultimately, the stadium-key gaffe did not appear to be a major setback for the organizers of the Games, but it was emblematic of the problems Brazil has had in preparing to host the massive event. For months, reports have streamed out of Rio and elsewhere about shoddy infrastructure and polluted water, not to mention broader concerns over the country’s Zika virus and crime problems.

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