Brazil · Corruption · Scandals

O-Minus 31: Everyone’s Got Problems

So the other day, some body parts washed up on Copacabana Beach, which added more fuel to the fire for Rio being an an absolute disaster of a Games. Right now we have health concerns with Zika and polluted waters, a dire financial and political situation, unfinished construction and the general safety of, well, just about  everyone.

But seriously, we here at The Feverr are fairly sure that Rio will pull off the Olympics–maybe not perfectly, but the Games will happen. The athletes will do amazing things. The venues will work as much as they need to. People will have fun. The gangs will hopefully play nice (at least where the cameras are). We’ll all see Brazil in a brand-new light and will–perhaps momentarily–want to visit. Besides, it’s not like every other Olympics has a segment of people crying Olympic doomsday. Let’s take a look at past ways the Olympics were going down:

London 2012: SO many potential problems: Potential security blunders! Transport and roads not being able to handle the crowds! No one could get tickets! Environmentally unfriendly! You know what? Pretty decent Games. Sure, the ticket problem was an issue–some empty-looking stands caused some rage. And the London 2012 logo might be one of the worst ever. But overall? Team GB showed us a great time!

Beijing 2008: Smog city! Human rights issues galore! A clampdown on media! Underage gymnasts! But Beijing cleaned up enough to get the Games done–although it was still the most polluted Games on record. The city also expanded its public transportation system, in part because of the Olympics, which could have a positive impact on the environment. In terms of human rights, some world leaders threatened to boycott the Opening Ceremonies, but that plan fell through. All in all, China’s big coming out party to the world, was OK–and while there’s a lot left to be desired, nothing major broke. (not surprisingly, the IOC said it was a great Games). If you’re going on pure spectacle, the shiny new stadiums and mind-blowing Opening Ceremonies had big crowd appeal. The city probably did some regression in terms of rights, etc., after the Games, and it can definitely improve for when it hosts the Winter Olympics in 2022, but it probably also came a long way from where it started back in 2001 when it was awarded the Games.

Athens 2004: Oh, Athens. We’ve seen what happened to you. And we saw some big doping issues. But there was hope that 2004 could help bolster your economy and perhaps fix some pollution. Sad to say, the country that was not quite ready to host the 1996 100th anniversary of the modern Olympics, was not prepared to host in 2004–at least, not the spectacle and so many facilities the modern Olympics had become (we can talk about the need for so many venues in a different post). Although the Games were lovely, Rio may likely see the same fate: A lot of debt and crumbling, unused venues that no one can maintain.

Sydney 2000: Hey, Sydney, the IOC wanted a “Green Games,” and yours was located on a big unused industrial area/garbage dump with toxic waste. You made it look great though and turned an eyesore into a really nice, still well-used area. There were also ticket and other bribing scandals. Ultimately, though, the Games were a pretty big hit, with the entire world yelling Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy!

Do we think Rio will pull this off without a hitch and smell like roses years down the road? No, we’re not that naive. But we think the Games will work. Just like Brazil pulled off the World Cup in 2014, this sporting spectacle will have its place in the spotlight (or “sportlight,” as I almost typed). What happens afterward? Maybe that’s up to us.

One thought on “O-Minus 31: Everyone’s Got Problems

  1. Before the 2000 Olympics there was also a lot of pessimism about the extra traffic on Sydney’s reputably bottleneck-ridden road network. Apparently the pessimism helped reduce the problem because many people went away to avoid the crowds, (in some cases renting out their homes for unprecendented prices), and other’s preponed or postponed as much travel through the busy areas as practical.

    Like

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