What has Happened to the Olympic Games?

 

Where did it go wrong, this seemingly ready-made debacle that is occurring in Rio ahead of the 2016 Summer Games? What with the pollution, poverty, crime, Zika virus, terrorism, and unfinished venues, it appears this year’s Olympics are primed for disaster. There have already been a number of athletes robbed at gunpoint ahead of the Games. Liesl Tesch, Fernando Echavarri, and Santi Lopez-Vazquez have all been accosted, at gunpoint, by thugs attempting to steal money. How long before an athlete or coach is shot or killed? With Brazil’s economy in a serious decline it only makes sense that increased crime and poverty will follow.

There are some notable athletes that have elected not to compete in the Olympics for fear of the Zika virus. Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh, Stephen Curry, and Tejay van Garderen are but a few of the athletes electing not to compete in this year’s competition, with many others vocalizing significant concern. Frankly, who can blame them? It’s difficult enough for an athlete to prepare and qualify for the Olympics, let alone have to worry about getting shot or contracting some life threatening virus. So how did it come to this?

When Brazil was awarded the Games in October of 2009 the economy was thriving and things were good. However, since that time there has been a change in leadership and the policies that have been implemented have driven the economy into a drastic decline. That, coupled with significant delays in venue construction as well as the other issues facing Rio, has created the potential for this to be a less than accomplished event. It’s a shame as Rio de Janeiro couldn’t be a more beautiful place to hold the XXXI Summer Games of the Olympiad.

By Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey

Dr. Ramsey is the Chair of Sports Exercise Science at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at vramsey@ussa.edu.

 

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