Friday, August 5, 2016

Let The (Olympic) Games Begin!

                 Rio de Janeiro. Beautiful, historic, exotic. Mountains, ocean, botanical gardens. Scantily clad, perfectly tanned beauties on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. The perfect location to host a summer Olympics, right?
                Unfortunately, something’s rotten in paradise. Human body parts are washing up on those beaches. Oil slicks smother Guanabara Bay. Aquatic athletes are being told to keep their mouths shut when in the water. A massive wave wiped out a recreational bike path recently, killing two people. Brazil is also Ground Zero for the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne malady that can cause horrible birth defects- and other serious medical problems. Numerous athletes have pulled out of the 2016 Rio Olympics because they feared contracting the virus, 17 top golfers among them. The city’s mayor has accused the state government of doing a “terrible, horrible” job of keeping the public safe in general.
                There are unsettlingly high levels of other viruses and bacteria in the water at the rowing, canoeing, sailing and open-water swimming venues, as well. More than one dead body has been seen floating off Brazil’s coast. There is a high- and rising- level of urban violence and crime. President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached, in part because of a bribery scandal involving the very companies responsible for creating the Olympic infrastructure. The government is in chaos.
                And it is insolvent. The Rio state government is so broke that some policemen are walking off their jobs because they are not getting paid. A few of them greeted visitors at the airport in June with a sign that read “Welcome To Hell.” Additionally, there have been more than the usual allotment of construction snafus for an Olympic games. One newly constructed leg of the city’s Metro system was scheduled to open only four days before the games began.
                Moreover, approximately 100 Russian athletes will not be allowed to participate due to an ongoing doping scandal.
                More than one Brazilian official has questioned their own country’s readiness for the Games.
                To cap this all off, the remaining police force recently arrested 10 people suspected of plotting terrorist attacks during the games.
                What could possibly go wrong?
                Let The Games begin!

(Brazil: I truly hope- and pray- The Games go off without a hitch and everyone has a grand time!)

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