Olympic Torch sets Brazil on Fire


AUGUST, 2016

By Daniel Ibanez Lau

Torches were lit, fireworks have exploded and super-bacteria has infected elite athletes, marking the debut of the Rio Olympics.

Behind the glitz and the glamour that comes with hosting the Olympics, Brazil has had its fair share of contention. On day one, Brazilian President Michel Temer was greeted by boo’s as he spoke at the opening ceremony, and Russian athletes were jeered by fans amid massive doping allegations that threatened them with a blanket ban.

Brazil’s hosting of the Olympics has been marred with controversies ranging from its inefficient planning to government corruption, here are some of the problems they have had to juggle:

Ballooning costs

Back when Brazil first revealed its hosting bid, the initial projected cost was about $14.4b. Since then, Rio has struggled to develop the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the crowds that come with the Olympics while also sticking to a strict time frame, this includes accommodation, transportation, and various clean-up efforts to disinfect the polluted rivers and beaches of Rio. It’s no wonder the estimated costs to date has risen to $20b.

To give this number some context, Brazil only spent about $700million on the containment of the Zika virus.

And you thought KLIA 2 was bad.

Anti-Government Protests

While splurging on the Olympics, the Brazillian people have also had to deal with the worst recession in Brazilian history, to the dissatisfaction of the Brazillian people, who, months before the Olympics, took to the streets across the country to protest against their interim President and the lavish Olympic spending.

Some put attendees of these protests at over 1MILLION people! To put this into perspective, estimates on the number of attendees of the last Bersih protest ranged from 80,000 to 150,000.

Polluted Water

You’re shit out of luck if you’re an Olympic swimmer because an Associated Press report found that a grown man only needs to ingest three table-spoons of water to contract a virus.
Imagine how much water you accidentally swallow during a day at the beach. Now imagine if that water was contaminated with human sewage, rubbish, and the occasional corpse, that’s as most may come to feeling like an Olympic swimmer.

The Cops and Firemen are going on Strike

Due to the recession that the Brazilian government faced in the lead-up to the Olympics, conditions within the Brazilian security forces got so bad that they reportedly had to beg for pens, cleaning supplies and toilet paper!

Since then, conditions have improved, but safety is still a big talking point. So far, two members of the Australian Paralympic sailing squad were robbed at gunpoint, Portugal’s education minister was robbed at knifepoint, a stray bullet tore through the roof of the press room at the equestrian center and three Swedish tourists were briefly abducted by armed men after taking pictures near a dangerous favela.

Surprisingly, none of these factors have subtracted from the excitement for the Rio Olympics, and I for one, will be sitting eagerly on the edge of my seat in anticipation for Datuk Lee Chong Wei to walk onto the badminton court.