The 2016 Summer Olympics are just shy of being two months away, but instead of excitement and hope surrounding Rio, the host city is drowning in despair and financial crisis. These themes are no stranger to past Olympic hosts, but with the Zika virus’ prominence in Brazil, Rio’s problems are overshadowing the upcoming Olympics. The effects may not lead to the most triumphant ends.
BBC recently reported the financial crisis the city of Rio is having is affecting what a city about to welcome thousands of tourists needs to most: the police force. On June 28, off-duty police were seen holding banners that were not welcoming, to say the least. The banners stated: “Welcome to Hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio De Janeiro will not be safe.” According to the governor of the city, the state is still waiting on a promised “860 million dollar payout from the federal government” that it was to receive before the games. This has left the crime force without funds or resources to do their jobs, meaning Rio is not only financially unstable, but it’s about to open itself to foreigners with a weak, unsupported police department.
Where does this leave the Olympic games? Well, many big US players have already opted out of playing, such as Stephen Curry and Tejay van Gardere, for reasons that include Zika and injuries. For example, Garderen is not attending because his wife is pregnant and Zika is harmful to pregnant women. The trials are ongoing and as Rio’s economy and government continue to lack stability and support, the Olympics are becoming less and less important and more and more dangerous. A commitment that is usually upheld with extreme organization and care is being set up for failure by its very host and there is no turning back.
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