Rio 2016 Olympics Prep Is The 'Worst' The IOC's Ever Seen — But Can Rio Outdo These 4 Awful Olympic Games?
After the epic fail that was the preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, no one thought the international games could get any worse. Brown water and unfinished hotel rooms sound easy to beat, right? Well, according to an official from the International Olympic Committee, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are shaping up to be an even bigger failure, with pretty much everything reportedly behind schedule. "We have become very concerned," IOC Vice President John Coates has said. "They are not ready in many, many ways."
Coates, who also helms the Australian Olympic Committee, has made six visits to Rio to check on the preparations for the upcoming Summer Games. He's not too happy with what he's seen so far: poor water quality, insufficient infrastructure and severely delayed construction — "the worst I have ever experienced," he said.
"The IOC has formed a special task force ... but the situation is critical" Coates added in a statement. "The IOC has adopted a more hands on role — it is unprecedented for the IOC but there is no plan B."
Basically, Rio is the worst-prepared Olympics host the IOC has ever seen, and that's really saying something. But can the 2016 Rio Olympics top its predecessors in terms of epic failure?
- 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Reports of inadequate housing facilities and poor sanitary conditions came shortly after media arrived in the little-known seaside resort city in Western Russia. Hotel rooms went unfinished, elevators were broken and in many cases, people were left without electricity, Internet and other basic necessities — so much so that journalists began bartering for items.
There were also numerous reports of packs of stray dogs roaming the city streets and, in some cases, hotel hallways. But the lasting image of the 2014 Sochi Olympics will forever be U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn smashing through his bathroom door after getting locked inside.
2. 2004 Athens Summer Olympics
When the Summer Olympics returned to its original venue of Athens, the games didn't go as smoothly as planned. The main Olympic Stadium was completed just two months before the games began, while the Athens Tram was barely finished on time. Even though the Greek government rushed to finish all the venues, several were empty throughout the games.
Costing around $11 billion (by today's exchange rate), the 2004 Athens Olympics was the most expensive one at the time, and is now blamed — at least partially — for triggering Greece's financial decline. Many of the specially built venues now remain abandoned and dilapidated.
3. 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics
The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta were heavily criticized for the insufficient transportation system and a slew of technological glitches. Lights all the sudden shut off during sporting events, while athletes, journalists and spectators were constantly delayed by the poorly planned metro and wayward buses. For instance, a Canadian fencer barely made it to his match after his bus got lost on the way to the facility.
The international community also didn't appreciate the games' blatant commercialism, including downtown Atlanta's "schlock, ranging from Ferris wheels to statues of Marilyn Monroe," according to The New York Times.
4. 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics
There were some major moments during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, including gymnast Nadia Comăneci's perfect-10 performance, the introduction of women's events in basketball and rowing, and the boycott of African nations as a protest of the South African apartheid.
However, the games left the Canadian city in financial ruin. It took the city nearly 30 years to pay off the massive debt, and the Olympic Stadium is now nicknamed "the Big Owe." The event's preparations were also marred by economic issues and labor strikes resulting in the loss of nearly 160 work-days.
Let's just say that Montreal's legacy as the "Bankrupt Olympics" is a cautionary tale for future host cities.