The 2016 Olympic Games begin (hopefully) tonight in Rio de Janeiro despite the numerous problems the city is facing. Many have claimed that the games should have been moved long ago due to the conditions in Rio. Weeks ago, they city wasn’t even sure if they would have all the facilities built in time. In my opinion, it honestly seems kind of wasteful to build completely new facilities for the Olympics every four years in a new city. Especially when the city chosen to host the Olympics is plagued with deadly viruses, extreme poverty, and dangerous crime. Rather than bringing the games to Brazil, and spending billions of dollars on facilities, we should be bringing aid and relief to Rio’s citizens in need. One thing is for sure, the Olympics will definitely bring attention to all the problems Rio de Janeiro is facing.
Here’s just a quick overview of all the problems in Rio at the moment:
- The Zika outbreak- The Zika virus outbreak has recently been declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization. Brazil, and many other South American countries are facing outbreaks of the Zika virus. Some athletes have even opted out of the 2016 games because of the risk of contracting Zika. To learn more about the Zika virus, visit the CDC.
- Water pollution- Raw sewage flows from local neighborhoods in Rio into the water, completely polluting the water. This is a major risk factor for the athletes competing in the rowing, sailing, and open water swimming events. Most of the water in Rio is plagued with trash, viruses, and Zika-ridden mosquitos.
- Safety and Government- Recently, the president of Brazil was impeached and removed from office, causing all sorts of political turmoil. Brazil is in an economic recession. Spending billions of dollars on the games—most of which they won’t make back—isn’t going to help their economy, but hinder it. Reports have stated that Rio is facing police violence, unemployment, poverty, crime, and enormous homicides rates. Rio wasn’t like this when they one the bid for 2016 games, however. In 2008, Rio was experiencing economic growth and was on the path towards peaceful social democracy. Many are angry that the location of the games wasn’t moved as soon as it was apparent that Rio might not be the safest and most ethical choice.
- Uninhabitable conditions- Many of the athletes have already moved into the Olympic Village and have reported that the living conditions are completely uninhabitable. Some teams have decided to stay in hotels instead. Plumbing and electrical work wasn’t completed. Some of the dorms already caught fire, forcing the Australian team to evacuate at which point they were robbed. A New Zealand team member was apparently kidnapped and robbed by the police. Unidentified body parts washed on shore where the volleyball games are to be held.
- Infrastructure delay- And the corrupt police might run out of gas before the Olympics even begin. Infrastructure problems include a lack of funding for public officials, and the incomplete metro meant to transport tourists and spectators around the city. A recently built bike path collapsed into the ocean, causing the death of two bikers. If the rest of the facilities are built in a similar fashion, many of the athletes might be risking their lives to compete.
And to really reassure us all that everyone is confident that the Rio Olympics will be a disaster, the local networks aren’t airing the opening ceremonies live. Instead, they are postponing them an hour. Probably to give themselves time to cut out anything that might prove that the city is anything less than perfect.
Photo source: flickr.com
Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017