The Olympics, the greatest gathering of athletes in the world. A time to put aside the troubles of our world and cheer on our nations finest.
But sadly, this Olympics isn’t like most Olympics. It is on pace to be a destructive force to its host nation of Brazil. With headline after headline exposing the problems this Olympics face, we can conclude that the Rio Olympics will be a disaster.
Before we at Arch City Sports explain the troubles facing this Olympics, we need to go backwards to explain how Brazil got to this point.
In October of 2009 Brazil, and the host city Rio De Janeiro beat out Chicago, USA, Tokyo, Japan, And Madrid, Spain, to host the event. Brazil was the hot country, it’s economy was in the beginning stages of the second largest growth of any nation (behind China). It passed Great Britain’s economy, and out grew the US’s economy by three times.
Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, had an 83% approval rating. It was suppose to be a celebration of the growth of the largest nation in South America… But that all changed, now the nation is bankrupt, and it’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, is facing impeachment. Brazil is not the hot prospect many thought and banked on that it would be, and now the Olympics are just a small part of a series of issues facing Brazil. Just facing the games alone here are a few of those problems:
If you Google the term “Rio Olympics” the top suggestions are:
- Rio Olympics (R.O. for short) 2016 problems
- R.O. Schedule
- R.O. Problems
- R.O. News
- R.O. Zika
- R.O. Water Pollution.
Forgetting the report last year that officials said that they would not supply A.C. for the athletes that has since been fixed, we begin just simple with the arenas that will be used.
At the famous Copacabana Beach where the beach volleyball events will be held there were mangled body parts discovered recently. Believed to be linked to a wave of violence sparked by escaped drug trafficker, Nicolas Pereira, who escaped custody while in a hospital (one that is suggested for visitors to use travelling to the games). Fellow gang members stormed the hospital killing a patient, and wounding a cop and a nurse.
So far this year there have been 2,036 killings in Rio alone. To date Chicago (who wanted to host this same Olympics) has seen a 72% spike in homicides this year, and is only at 320 so far (they had 490 all of last year). In fact, according to crime data in 2015, of the 50 most violent cities in the world Brazil is home to 21 of them. Venezuela came in second at eight cities. Both nations coincidently have two leaders facing impeachment.
But back to the games, where the body parts on the beach may not be the worst thing facing athletes in competition. Members of both Australian and Spain’s Paralympic teams have been mugged at gunpoint near training facilities. For the Australian’s it happened near the sailing venue at Guanabara Bay. Though no one was harmed, imagine being an Olympian and seeing now multiple reports of muggings at gunpoint. Yet for these Olympians (who are on the sailing team) the mugging still isn’t as dangerous as the water they will be competing in.
Guanabara Bay is hosting some of the events such as previously mentioned sailing. Yet reports show still that the water in the bay contains high level of toxins and pollution. Athletes are being told to take additional shots to boost immune systems to combat the inevitability of water that will get in their mouth, and thus, body. Teams are also both bleaching all the gear after each time they go into the water and treating much of the gear to other chemicals and extreme heats in an attempt to kill any bacteria that can cause serious illness like the diseases typhoid.
Do a quick google search for Guanabara Bay (shown below) and you will be given the suggestions of corpses, trash, sewage, and pollution.
Now I know what your thinking, ‘okay Scott we get it, things are looking so pro athlete at the moment,’ and your right, all these athletes want is a clean Olympics for them to compete in. Speaking of clean athletes.
Body parts and raw sewage aside one other issue athletes face this Olympic games is keeping the games themselves clean. Just this month it was announced a $90-million dollar drug testing facility that was built just for the World Cup and Olympics, has been suspended and shut down.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said the lab isn’t up to the international standards. The over 3000 samples that will be taken from athletes may have to be flown to the US or Europe to approved sites.
Okay enough of how the athletes are at risk…wait… there is still that big fear that has kept some athletes from attending in the first place. the Zika Virus. A virus that can be spread by mosquitos and through sex with an infected male. Leading pregnant women to risking their child’s future health and risk their children being born with birth defects.
Now on to the tourist that visit Rio. The estimations put the number of travellers near 500,000 visitors to Rio for the three-week event.
Sidney Levy, CEO of the Rio Organizing Committee (ROC) said this past week that their biggest priority is stopping a “lone wolf” attacker, or terrorism as many call it. The ROC claims it will have over 85,000 security personnel on site and is working with intel offices of over 100 countries. Currently they expect to spend 2.9 billion reais (or $892 million dollars) for security for the Olympics.
To see how seriously they take crime right now, 27 battalions of military police have been deployed in response to the high crime near the Olympic and tourist venues. A battalion ranges from 300-1,000 men so the exact number of men estimated is between 8,100- 27,000 military police concentrated around the event sites.
Now all of that sounds very good, after all no terrorist hit the World Cup, or the Pope when he toured Brazil. However, one larger problem still looms. A police strike.
Currently the police and government are at a standoff over what police spokespeople have said are an attempt to recover the integrity of their wages and decent conditions at police stations. A simular strike happened leading up to the World Cup but was resolved.
Now I know this is a long article, but there is so much to cover about these games. But let’s look big picture for Brazil. Just a few short years ago the world looked to Brazil as a leader for how a nation can grow.
Brazil today gets near 80% of it’s energy from non-carbon fuels, it’s the 5th largest country in size and population and had recently lifted millions out of poverty. Then there is today, a nation bankrupt by a corrupt political class (we never got into the scandals surrounding their impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff). It is sad to see what was quickly becoming a great economic power fall so fast under one president, and how those failures now put not just the millions who are impacted within Brazil’s boarders, but those visiting them at risk while attending an event that we should as a world be celebrating, not worrying over.
Maybe these games will go off without a problem, maybe the fears we all think could happen will. One thing is for sure as it stands today, these games are heading for disaster unless something changes quickly.
@scottcriscione – twitter