Five years ago, when Rio was chosen to host the Olympic Games (making it the first South American country to do so) the people of Brazil were ecstatic. Now, just two years away from the highly-anticipated event, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voiced its concern regarding Rio’s slow preparations.
John Coates, Head of the IOC recently released a statement that said, “We are very concerned. They are not ready in many, many ways.”
The IOC has created a special taskforce to aid with the Olympic preparations to ensure everything is ready before the games are set to begin. Coates has deemed Rio’s progress worse than that of Athens, who played host back in 2004. Athens had left much of its construction to the last minute and was still building the night before the opening ceremony — the IOC fears that the situation may be even worse in 2016.
Rio had originally outlined an ambitious plan for the Olympics at an estimated cost of 15 billion dollars however the IOC has since encouraged them to downgrade these plans to save on both time and money. Multiple problems have arisen regarding the sporting facilities and accommodation as well, such as the housing of media members covering the games and the pollution of water for sports such as sailing.
The roof of Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, otherwise known as the Rio Olympic Stadium, collapsed last year revealing its weak structure. Rio’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes also appears to be feeling the pressure, saying “don’t ever in your life do a World Cup and an Olympic Games at the same time. I am not cut out to be a masochist.”
Rio’s slow progress is not the only thing putting the city under criticism. It was subject to multiple protests at the time of the FIFA World Cup as many citizens believed that the government was neglecting education, poverty and other social issues which they felt warranted more attention (not to mention more resources).
This remains the case leading up to the Olympics as even more money is being poured into an international sporting event and none into bettering the country itself.
Although the IOC has expressed grave concerns, it has also stated that with less than two years to go the games must remain in Rio, for better or for worse.