Richmond World Affairs Council

The Bumpy Road To Rio

In a few days, over half a million people will descend on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. As the Summer Games get closer, however, there has been concern over a variety of issues that may stand in the way.

 

Rio de Janeiro has experienced a number of setbacks that have caused many people to shift from asking the classic question of whether or not the athletes are ready for Rio, and now ask if Rio is ready for them.

 

The main concerns surrounding Rio include security, Zika, and lack of money:

 

Security: Every 4 years, no matter the location, the Olympic Games present a huge terrorism target that requires a large amount of law enforcement officers in order to keep the area safe. Due to this, many feel that the 85,000 officers that Rio de Janeiro has set to protect the millions of visitors and citizens will not be sufficient. These officers are reportedly underpaid underequipped. On top of all of this, Rio de Janeiro is one the most crime-ridden cities in the world and these crime rates have reportedly been increasing as the Olympic Games near.

 

Zika: This mosquito-borne virus, which has affected Brazil more than any other country in the world, has proven to cause a wide range of disturbing birth defects, including babies born with abnormally small heads and neurological problems. The World Health Organization declared Zika a global health emergency in February, and since then, a number of athletes have decided not to participate in the Olympic Games this year. Athletes such as Vijay Singh, Marc Leishman, Tejay Van Garderen, Rory Mcllory, and Adam Scott have all decided not to compete in the Games due to fear of the virus. Despite this, however, the Brazilian Health Minister, Ricardo Barros, has assured visitors that “there’s almost zero risk”.

 

The money: As a result of the country’s economic recession that has lasted for 2 years now, the government is scrambling to prepare for the games. The Games will cost it around $4.6 billion, overrunning the projected budget by 51 percent. These money issues have left many construction projects waiting to be finished.

 

These are just some of the major issues. On top of this, there have been reports of a plethora of problems including the collapse of a bike trail, an unfinished subway system, the death of a jaguar that was part of the Olympic Torch Ceremony, underfunded emergency services, and more.

 

Despite all this, however, it is safe to say that the Olympic Games will undoubtedly be two weeks of great athleticism and competition that will be celebrated by billions of people around the globe. Furthermore, it seems that predictions of problems have become routine at the Olympics. Similar issues arose prior to the 2012 and 2014 games, yet both were successful.

 

With the large amount of conflict and violence that has come recently, many are hopeful that the 2016 Olympic Games will be able to bring the people and countries of the world closer together.

 

 

By: Zoe Chandra