Por Karolos Grohmann
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which come to an end on Sunday, were an iconic Games despite a long list of problems and a lack of cash, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said on Saturday.
A day before the closing ceremony of the first Olympics on the South American continent, Bach said: "These were and still are iconic Olympic Games in many respects. We have seen iconic athletes across all sports, seen athletes who were icons and even strengthened their positions like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. And others who became icons here.
"We all saw the level of competition over all sports was extremely high, with stunning performances from the athletes. This really is the spirit of the Games," he told reporters in his closing news conference.
Rio organizers struggled with transportation, security, empty stands and a shortage of funds as Brazil was gripped by its worst recession since the 1930s, with political turmoil further hampering preparations.
Rio won the right to host the Games in 2009 amid a booming economy but due to a severe economic crisis over the past few years, organizers have had to get advance payments from the IOC while also asking for public funds to complete preparations.
(Editing by Nina Chestney)