Rio 2016 has just kicked off and there has been lots of controversy about Rio de Janeiro status as an Olympic host city. The debate became fiercer especially in the last couple of years when Brazil started facing one of its worse economic and political crisis, was hardly hit by the zika virus epidemic and promises made by federal and local governments were not delivered, such as the depollution of Guanabara Bay.
Rio de Janeiro won the bid to become Olympic host city in 2009, when the Brazilian economy was doing thriving. However, Brazil has seen a falling GDP, rising inflation and an impeached president. On the top of that, Rio de Janeiro is a city with extreme high criminality rate, poor transports links and congested roads.
Nevertheless, the government has taken some action to tackle these problems. For instance, the number of police officers deployed in areas where the games are taking place has grown 7 times than any average day in the city
When it comes to the promises made by the government to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) once the bid was won, some of them have failed, like the promise to treat the sewage sent to the Guanabara Bay. The government said that they would clean 80% of the bay water what it was not done. Therefore, the athletes are having to compete among sewage and debris under the risk of catching viruses.
Public transportation improvement was one of the few promises which has been delivered. An 18 km tram line, that works like a light rail service, was inaugurated two months ago connecting Rio’s domestic airport, Santos Dumont, to the city’s main bus terminal. Furthermore, a tube line extension was opened a few days ago. At the moment, it’s just being used by people commuting to and from the Olympic park. This new line links the southern Ipanema area to Barra, west Rio, where the Olympic park is located. Once the Olympics and Paralympics events are finished, the line will be opened to the general public.
Some parts of the city were also regenerated such as the port area. Once rundown, new buildings are occupying the space, a new museum was opened (Museu do Amanha _ Tomorrow’s museum) and huge graffiti murals made by Kobra, a renowned street artist, were also inaugurated.
Despite all the problems and negativities surrounding this big event, hosted for the first time ever in a South American country, I hope everything goes well and that Brazil shows to the world that also can host an international event.