The Dire Straits of the 2016 Olympics


By Mohamad Amin

All eyes look to Rio de Janeiro for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, or as normal people call it, the 2016 Summer Olympics. The Olympics in Rio are shaping up to be the worst Olympics of our generation. The situation in Brazil looks bleak; the people don’t want the games, the government is losing credibility, the lead up to the Olympics is being heavily mismanaged[1], and it seems even Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate with the Olympics[2]. The problems just keep climbing and climbing for Brazil.

Brazil faces its worst economic disaster since the 1930s[3], aka The Great Depression, inflation is rampant with the Real losing nearly a third of its value, GDP has fallen, and unemployment is nearly 8%. Only half of the 4.5 million tickets set aside for Brazilians have been purchased[4]. The Olympics are raising the cost of living in the city too, the poor may not be able to afford the city for much longer. To make matters even worse, the poorest of Rio’s citizens are being evicted from their homes and offered meagre recompense in order to make space for the Olympics[5].

Corruption is a poison that kills nearly all nations, Brazil is no exception to this rule, the government is investigating if the companies currently constructing the infrastructure for the Olympics had paid bribes for the exclusive building contracts[6]. President Dilma Rousseff is facing impeachment for corruption too, it got to the point that 3 million people marched for her removal. She isn’t the only one facing these accusations, nearly everyone in the line of succession for president is facing corruption charges and so is the mayor of Rio[6]. Furthermore, mismanagement is showing; multiple venues are not looking as if they will be ready in time for the Olympics and the transportation infrastructure is next to non-existent[7]

Brazil’s biggest problem may be with Mother Nature herself though. The Zika virus has broken out and Brazil is the epicenter; the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that women pregnant should not travel to the Brazil and the World Health Organization has called Zika a global health emergency[8]. Zika isn’t the only problem though, other mosquito borne illnesses such as chikungunya, yellow fever, and dengue fever are in the region and pose risks to any visitors[9]. The situation isn’t looking too good in regards to pollution either. Guanabara Bay, the main waterway where rowing events will be held, tested positive for raw sewage. This carries a variety of risks including coliform bacteria (such as E. coli), MRSA (a fleshing eating bacteria), and a host of other pathogens. This isn’t even speculation, German sailor Erik Heil had to be treated for MRSA after practicing in the Rio waters[10]. Rio should take a note from Beijing where drastic measures were taken to reduce pollution in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics[11].

Rio 2016 is ripe with issues, no one can deny it at this point. The International Olympic Committee has gone so far as to suggest London should prepare to be a potential backup host[12]. Nevertheless it looks like Rio will remain the host and Rio 2016 will happen. The world can only watch as it does. Here’s hoping the USA wins some nice medals.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.