Olympic Updates 2.0

Gabrielle Klemt - 1B Geological
Posted on: July 16, 2016

What’s new in the most (questionably) exciting city of the summer? Well, just weeks away from the kickoff of the Summer ’16 Olympics, Rio has discovered some unpleasant truths about what’s lurking in the water and this time we’re not talking severed limbs! Brazil is having an economic meltdown, and some upbeat news as well.

First and foremost, that water everyone’s been talking about has gotten slightly worse. Although it was bad enough as just a sewage and garbage-filled slurry, apparently the water around Rio just wasn’t bad enough. Recently, scientists have detected a form of “super-bacteria” growing just off the coast of some of the city’s most stunning beaches. One of the areas with the greatest concentrations of bacteria will be the site of the Olympic sailing competition.

Scientists have been looking for bacteria at five beaches over the last year and believe that the bug identified has been coming from hospital sewage. This superbug has been appearing at hospitals and resistant as it is to antibacterial drugs, it is becoming a major issue for doctors and scientists. It’s now believed that sewage coming from the hospitals, and infected people, goes to municipal facilities and then out to Guanabara Bay – site of the Olympics.

It seems that Rio de Janeiro’s only woes don’t come and go with the tides either. The recent serious economic downturn in Brazil has left very little money in the Olympic budget. While most Olympic venues are ready and waiting for their big moment, the city and citizens might not be. The state government, responsible for policing, has been pushed to near bankruptcy due to the major recession – dare I say depression – that’s hit Brazil. An under-funded police force might be one thing, but many civil servants from doctors to firefighters are also not being paid and are threatening strike action.

Alarming news is coming out of the police departments about lack of toilet paper, and even gasoline for cars. All this while the unhappy populous plan protests for the day of opening ceremonies and police and firefighters welcome tourists with signs warning them they are not entering a safe place. Many people have expressed concern about Rio’s ability to cope with an emergency event, should it occur during the games.

It seems like many people will be watching from home this year, something encouraged by the public that will only further detrimentally impact Brazil. Not being able to cash in on the Olympic tourists would be a major loss to an already starving economy. It’s a wait-and-see game at this point; too late to call it off, but maybe too late for success.

On a more positive note (see what I did there), Katy Perry has released a new power anthem, “Rise”, for the summer games. And they don’t use the term “power anthem” all the time in that business, so you know it’s pretty great. Definitely watch the version with all the athletes falling and then getting back up to succeed again; I may have had a tear or two in my eye. Maybe Perry’s anthem will help Rio de Janeiro rise again and become that powerful nation they really can be!! We’ll see, I can’t wait and I hope you’re watching too!