Letter to the Editor, by Gregory Cufaro
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – People all over the world are asking whether it is a good idea to hold the upcoming Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio.
In light of ongoing concerns relating to various seemingly, insurmountable issues such as, the Zika virus outbreak, woeful hospital and medical facility shortages, violent crime, government corruption scandals, corporate money laundering, economic instability, social unrest and finally environmental pollution, with all of it’s associated health dangers, this seems to be a logical question.
Had these hindrances been acknowledged back when the IOC awarded the Olympics to Rio for 2016, would the outcome have been different? Most likely Brazil would never have been awarded the Games.
What would it take to make the monumental and eco-political unpopular decision to change venues, or worse, cancel the Games entirely?
Apparently, when the host country is selected for any Olympic Games the IOC, does in fact, have a back up plan to address unforeseen future developments which may preclude the successful completion of athletic competition. Somewhere in the IOC hierarchy there must be blueprints for just such a decision.
There are several other international sites which already have the infrastructure to host the 2016 games. The City of London, England is one such example. There are others who could save the competition if afforded the opportunity.
As the start date of August 5th 2016, fast approaches and time quickly runs out for making any host country changes, it is looking highly unlikely that the 2016 Olympic Games will be held anywhere but Rio. This begs to ask what the threshold must be in order to implement a venue change.
Obviously politics and economics are foremost in the decision making of the Olympic Games. There simply is too much at risk to justify changes now. However what about the real risk of athlete injury and/or illness due to hazardous environmental and health conditions?
Multiple international athletes have spoken out about refusing to attend for those reasons. What about security matters relating on crime and potential terrorist attacks? The true logistics must be a nightmare!
Can the Brazilian Olympic Committee guarantee the safety of all athletic competitors and the estimated half a million tourist who plan to attend? This would be an improbable expectation even in the best of circumstances. In the prevailing state of affairs, probably impossible.
All one can do is hope that despite all of the negative news and bleak predictions forecast for a successful 2016 Olympic Games, the true spirit envisioned by the originators of both the Ancient Olympic Games and the Games of the 1 Olympiad, in Greece, triumph over all adversity.
If this happens then Brazil can proudly claim to have been host to one of the most successful Olympic Games in recent times.