In just one week athletes will come together from around the world to compete for Olympic gold. As was the case in Sochi just two years ago, Rio is not ready for what is about to come their way. This begs the question of whether or not the International Olympic Committee be disbanded, or should it undergo a complete overhaul so that athletes can ensure that their best interests be looked after in future games.
How did the International Olympic Committee go about selecting Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics? The process itself began in May 2007. A list of names, including Rio, were submitted by the countries respective Olympic committees. Over the course of two and a half years, several names were cut to a final four, Madrid, Chicago, Tokyo, and Rio. After a good deal of bickering and accusations, Rio was chosen in October 2009.
Since the selection of Rio, there has been one setback after another for the city as well as the athletes while everyone prepares for the games. Shortly after the selection, Brazil’s once booming economy tanked, according to a CBC News report. Brazil’s GDP is down drastically, unemployment sits at nine percent, and inflation is above 10 percent, placing the preparation for the games well over what was originally budgeted. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) failed to address this over the last seven years.
If the downfall of the economy wasn’t enough to light a fire under the IOC, a political scandal should have. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff could face impeachment proceedings for violating budget laws during a 2014 reelection campaign. On top of this, several firms closely associated with the infrastructure of the Rio Olympics are part of a scandal that involves giving political kickbacks, price-fixing, and bribery. This all pales in comparison to what the athletes will be facing as they attempt to compete.
CBS Sports has compiled a list of conditions athletes can expect and what some of the athletes are doing about it. The Zika virus will be keeping many of the stars at home in their respective sports. The most notable withdrawals are from the men’s golf competition. Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy have all elected to sit out the Rio Olympics due to the possibility of a higher than normal chance of contracting the Zika virus, which has been attributed to birth defects across the globe.
Safety will be another major concern for not just the athletes, but the spectators as well. Before the games have begun, body parts of a young woman washed up on shore just outside of the beach volleyball complex. Two Australian Paralympic team members were reportedly robbed. A New Zealand team member was reported to have been kidnapped and robbed by the police. According to Numbeo, Rio is one of the highest crime-infested cities in the world.
There are a number of other reasons that could be given for the International Olympic Committee being disbanded. Any athlete competing in the discipline of aquatics has to worry about swimming in sewage. According to a report by the Australian Olympic team, only 10 of the 31 buildings in the Olympic Village are inhabitable. One report indicated that fecal matter ran down the walls when flushing the toilet.
It is hard to believe that for seven years the IOC has not had the opportunity to step in with a contingency. Finalists like Chicago or Tokyo have facilities already in place to support most of the sports. Protesters have been seen holding “Welcome to Hell” signs in Rio. All of this points to gross negligence on the part of the organizers as well as the governing body.
What do you think? Are these issues enough to warrant the International Olympic Committee be disbanded, or can restructuring save future games?
[Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]