Brazil’s Preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games

Brigit McDannell ’18
Sports Editor

Aug. 5, 2016 marks the start of the XXXI Olympiad, hosted in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. 206 nations are expected to participate in this historic sporting event. 0ver 10,500 athletes from across the globe will compete in over 306 events in 28 sports. In 2009, the Olympic committee added rugby sevens and golf to the event list. Events will be held in 33 venues across the four main regions of Brazil, specifically Copacabana, Maracana, Deodoro and Barra.

The iconic torch will be lit in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, on April 21, 2016 before being handed over to Rio 2016 organizers on April 27. On May 3, the Olympic Torch Relay will commence in Brazil’s capitol, Brasilia, beginning on a 95-day tour around the South American country. According to Olympic Game officials, the torch plans on visiting 83 cities, including the 26 state capitals, and will pass through more than 500 towns. The relay is projected to reach 90 percent of Brazil’s population and will cover 12,427 miles of the country by road and 9,942 miles by air. Approximately 12,000 torchbearers will carry the torch for roughly 200 meters (656 feet) each.

Amidst this wonderful time of anticipated celebration, however, Brazil faces great economic trouble as a result of the game’s expenses. According to CNBC commentator Juliana Barbassa, Brazil is entrenched in political and economic crisis. Just in mid-August, more than 250,000 Brazilians took to the streets in national protest, condemning the Brazilian government and its economic policy. Barbassa says Brazil’s economy is expected to shrink over the next two years and the nation’s GDP will decrease by two percent. A majority of the population is calling for the impeachment of Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazilian citizens are also calling for an investigation regarding bribery between the governing Worker’s Party, the energy corporation Petrobras and the major construction companies. Rio citizen and teacher Marcia Regina told the Guardian, “I can’t stand being in a country where I have to pay such high taxes to get nothing whatsoever in return.”

This unstable economy has damaged companies responsible for building the various venues for the Olympic games.

When Rio first pitched to be the host of the first Olympics games ever to occur in South America, economic stability and political strength were major selling points. However, recent events have changed Brazilian attitudes toward the large and costly international games, especially as the companies that benefit financially from the construction encounter corruption charges.

Leave a Comment