The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro get underway with the Opening Ceremonies this Friday, August 5, but not everyone is ready to celebrate. After months and even years of preparation failures on the part of local organizers, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is understandably frustrated.
The promised metro system to ease the heavily congested city didn’t come to fruition as planned, the city opted not to clean its severely contaminated Guanabara Bay, athlete accommodations are inadequate, and did we mention the Zika virus?
Rio’s inability to properly prepare for the Olympics has been well documented around the world, and it’s been downright embarrassing for the IOC. The expected result is that the Olympics will be awarded to more stable cities in the coming years.
“The lesson is that lots of things can change in seven years,” IOC member Dick Pound told the Wall Street Journal.
Odds Against Africa
Tokyo has already been confirmed for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The 2024 host will be announced on September 13, 2017.
After Rio officially welcomes the Summer Olympics, the IOC can check South America off its list. That leaves Africa as the only remaining continent to never host an Olympics (excluding Antarctica).
South Africa was once considered a favorite for the 2024 games, but the country rescinded its bid last year due to economic factors. If Rio would have gone off without any glitches, many believe the IOC would have been inclined to try Africa.
But with South Africa out, viable options are slim to none. No other city in Africa currently has the infrastructure or capability to support the Olympics.
Sportsbook.ag has Paris as the heavy favorite for the 2024 games at 9/10. Los Angeles and Rome are both at 3/1, and Budapest is fourth at 10/1.
It’s expected that Rome’s odds will become longer as the public scrutiny intensifies over Rio’s mishandling of the 2016 event and IOC officials look for easy sailing waters.
Rio Promises Excitement
Just three days away from the Opening Ceremonies, more press is being given to Rio’s insufficient preparation than the actual upcoming competitions.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in the history of the games, is returning for his fifth and final Olympics. But his name is rarely mentioned compared to the buzzwords “Zika,” “contamination,” “inadequate,” and even “body parts.”
While the media is notorious for hyping up stories and controversy, in regards to Rio it’s warranted.
Just last week, the Brazil Ministry of Justice fired the private security firm hired for the Olympics. More than 3,400 security personnel were supposed to work the games, but the company was let go after Brazil officials said only 500 officers had been hired.
It’s the latest scandal, but perhaps one of the most consequential as crime and terrorism is of utmost concern.
Regardless of the excess of controversy, Brazil is still painting a rosy picture.
“Rio de Janeiro has two main assets, which are its natural beauty and the strength of its people,” Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said last week.
Let the games begin.