Rio Remains Optimistic Amid Challenges Facing the 2016 Olympic Games

 

In six decades as journalist, I have spent some of my happiest hours in Brazil — not Carnival style, but just enjoying the social ambiance and musical heart of a willfully joyous but sometimes troubled people. In the face of multiple hazards when hosting the Olympic Games this August, the sporting world must wish Rio ‘boa sorte’ (good luck)

Latin America, and Brazil, need a triumphant Games. In his last press conference in
Europe prior to kick-off, master-mind Carlos Nuzman was doggedly positive when assuring the encircling media vultures — almost equally pessimistic before London 2012 — that “all will be well”‘

So, there will be no Games admin meltdown if there is impeachment of the State
president….the velodrome will be ready….the sailing lake will be pollution free….the Zika
mosquitoes will go on holiday, so to speak? The sporting world needs to be reassured on
these issues.

A Rio-distributed ‘public relations’ graph relating the comparative prevalence of
mosquitoes in Rio, with a regular peak in April — over 36,000 infections in 2012, under
4,000 in 2015 — and consistently declining to a thousand cases in August, showed the
incidence of ‘dengue fever’ rather than Zika: transmitted by the same mosquito, but a
different disease.

Nuzman repeats that local health authorities, and the WHO, believe that infection
rates in winter are shown statistically to be much reduced, and that there is no requirement for a public alarm campaign. There has been no case of competitor infection in 44 test events ( though I guess no immediate births). Iconic sports figures such as Bolt and Djokovic have publicly expressed willingness to attend — they probably would, wouldn’t they — though no prominent woman athlete has done so. Any woman contemplating a later pregnancy should decide for herself regarding an infection existing in many other countries.

Nuzman stated that the velodrome is guaranteed by the mayor to be ready by the end
of June, including non-competition testing. Cleansing technology is ensuring a pollution
free bay for sailing….that targeted sports on specific selling days is shifting up to 60,000
tickets at a time….that if by the time the Games begin there are unsold tickets available, they will be offered to minors at reduced prices.

This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.

 

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