February 28, 2016

SCAZZERO | Another Olympics, Another Controversy With the Host City

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Who else totally forgot that it was an Olympic year!? No one ever really thinks about the Olympics until late summer actually comes around (sorry athletes who have been training since they were four for 2016 to arrive). Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas, Usain Bolt; hard to believe that was all four years ago! But here we are, a few months away from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, with athletes and teams in the final stretch of their years of prepping for their days of glory on the world stage.

The Olympics are always a couple months of guaranteed pomp and circumstance, moments of unfathomable joy and victory and of heart-wrenching grief, or just plain fascination because, WOW there is some cool stuff. But it seems like in recent years, the Olympics have drawn more attention for not just the athletes, but what goes wrong with the venues. And this year, much like Sochi, all that makes headlines these days regarding Rio 2016 are the apparent unsanitary conditions of the location.

Why does it seems like Olympic locations can never get their you-know-what together? It is only the greatest world spectacle of athletics held every four years, and locations are always picked at least eight years in advance, so it seems a little odd that not finishing construction on, I don’t know, the athletic village might be a bit of an oversight. There were so many confusing and just straight up ridiculous problems with the 2014 Sochi Olympics that the biggest trend on twitter that February was “#SochiProblems.”

It also doesn’t seem very fair to the athletes and coaches — who have been working tirelessly, for probably their whole lives, for this one moment — are greeted with hotels that do not have decent floors and adequate pillows and have wild dogs roaming across the rooms. Congrats, teams, on your years of dedication and hard work, as a reward you get to sleep on a hard bed a foot away from your teammates next to an exposed wire and get to dodge feral canines on your way out! #Blessed.

After the mess that was Sochi, I think we all hope that Rio will take a queue and make an extra effort to not be as much of a disaster, but from what is being reported, they seem to be plagued with an additional slew of problems. What is really hurting them at the moment is Zika and the water sanitation. At the moment, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that pregnant women should consider avoiding traveling to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. Fantastic. Not that it’s a country’s fault for having an outbreak, but Olympic tickets are not really an impulse buy, so being told now, after you have paid all that money and planned out a whole trip, that you probably you shouldn’t go at the risk of killing your unborn child, that is a bit of a downer to say the least.

Then there’s the water for the sailing, rowing and triathlon events. If you just Google “Rio water,” the first 10 articles that pop up talk about how the water is contaminated with untreated sewage and dead fish. Or, here’s the fun one, there was human arm photographed in the Olympic sailing waters. I wonder if any of the aquatic athletes are reading these and thinking that maybe this year’s Olympics might not be worth it? Not to mention Rio de Janeiro is a city with one of the highest crime rates, but I guess that takes back seat to the whole “I might be swimming in sewage and dead fish” thing.

This is the OLYMPICS though, these host countries are supposed to be showing off the best that they can offer, and to be a celebration of incredible human feats, yet it seems the most recent events have overshadowed the athletics with site malfunctions or the athletes keep getting shafted in some way. Hopefully Rio can sort it all out, by August, and we can enjoy the sailing, rowing and triathlon-ing in nice, limb-free waters.