Will Rio Be Ready For The 2016 Olympics? It Faces Hurdles, But The International Olympic Committee Says It's Ready
In the months leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there's been doubt about whether the city was a suitable host for the summer games. Its role as a welcoming venue for the Olympic athletes and patrons has been thrown into question due to the myriad issues Brazil currently faces: an economic recession, growing political scandal, and a potential health crisis. But with less than a month to go until the games are set to begin, the International Olympic Committee says that Rio is indeed ready for the 2016 Olympics.
Given their current turmoil, Brazilians are worrying whether the impending games will exacerbate the country's problems. And it is a long and complicated list of problems, the greatest of which is likely the upheaval of the president. As The Huffington Post reports, President Dilma Rousseff is being charged with misusing federal funds in order to manipulate Brazil's economic figures in the face of a growing deficit. She is also being questioned on whether she took illegal campaign contributions from a multinational oil company for which she had previously served as the board of directors' president.
The crises unfortunately do not end there. Brazil has also been facing an epidemic of the Zika virus, which is primarily spread by mosquitoes. Zika is known to cause birth defects in babies born to mothers infected with the virus. Though news of the disease has caused some top athletes to bow out of the games altogether, health and government officials have worked to cleanse Rio and nearby areas of mosquitoes, and the World Health Organization has said there will be "very little risk" of Zika spreading globally as a result of the games.
Lastly, CNN reports that Brazil is in the worst economic recession it has faced since the 1930s.
Despite all of this, the IOC says that Rio is ready for the Olympics. According to The LA Times, IOC officials completed their final trip to the city this week, and have cleared it to host the games.
Nawal El Moutawakel, head of the IOC’s coordination commission, said Monday: "From views of the Corcovado and Sugar Loaf Mountain to the new state-of-the-art facilities in Barra or Deodoro and the iconic Maracanã Stadium and Copacabana Beach, I cannot imagine more spectacular backdrops for the world’s top sportsmen and women to showcase their talents to a watching world."
The IOC confirmed that Rio has successfully conducted 44 different test events, and that all venues which have been under construction leading up the games will be ready when the athletes start arriving in late July. Brazil's rail and bus lines, another concern for the games, will soon be fully operational, Brazilian officials confirmed after conducting tests. The city will also be watched over by 85,000 security personnel. So despite Rio's problems, the IOC's confidence in Brazil will let the games begin, hopefully with no further conflict created for the South American country.