Rio Officials Locked Out Of Their Own Stadium As Embarrassing Pre-Olympics Stretch Run Continues

Rio officials have been left with egg on their face after the shocking revelation that the Brazilian city had just one key to unlock the Maracana Olympic Stadium there — and it was lost.

Now, fans worldwide are left asking the question, “Nobody has a spare?”

Maracana Olympic Stadium

BBC News reporter Julia Carneiro documented the comically funny August 3 event via Twitter in which city officials went to unlock the Olympic Stadium for a women’s soccer match between Brazil and China, only to discover that the key had been misplaced and no spare was actually available.

This incident, the Washington Post noted, resulted in fans and other spectators being forced to line up for two hours prior to being rerouted to a makeshift Maracana Stadium entrance to get their Olympic fix.

Fortunately for the Rio officials without a spare key, the soccer match was scheduled for prior to the actual launch of the 2016 Olympic Games today, August 5. This will leave city officials plenty of time to locate a spare key or two.

Unfortunately for those same officials, the incident only served to epitomize a series of snafus that Brazil has encountered since opening its doors to an international audience for the Summer Olympic games.

With no shortage of issues to spare, the city of Rio continues to hustle to make sure it is fully prepared for the massive event. As has been documented by various media sources, the city has encountered a number of obstacles even prior to tonight’s start of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

According to the Cubic Lane’s Martin Williams, “[The lost key dilemma] comes as the cherry on the cake of the many problems recorded during the organization of the Olympics. [Within] 72 hours of the opening ceremony, none of the four Olympic venues was well prepared for the tests, as the new 16km metro line built to link the sites are still not finalized.”

These and other problems were documented by the Wall Street Journal in recent weeks, which noted in a recent video that Rio faces obstacles such as extreme water pollution, its “deepest economic recession in generations,” fewer volunteers and resources, fear of the Zika virus (and athletes not showing up as a result of it), and security-related issues.

Finally, and perhaps most disturbing, a recent report by the Associated Pressadvised Olympic swimmers to not “put your head under water” due to unusually high levels of raw sewage, bacteria, and water-based viruses present in Rio’s public waterways. This article cited a 16-month study that had been commissioned by the AP.

Rio Waterways

“[Rio has] a very, very, very high percentage of pathogens,” University of South Florida Department of Integrative Biology chair Valerie Harwood told the AP. “Seeing that level of human pathogenic virus is pretty much unheard of in surface waters in the U.S. You would never, ever see these levels because we treat our waste water. You just would not see this.”

In all, more than 80,000 are expected to sit live at Maracana stadium at any given time for the 2016 Summer Olympics, with an additional three billion viewers sitting in front of their TV screens.

With any luck, the city of Rio will have made a run to the hardware store in order to create a fresh set of spare keys. Unfortunately, the city is almost out of time to fix some of its other more pressing issues.

[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]