Olympic Enthusiasm Becomes Brazilian Anger

by Nao Emzed on September 23, 2015 - 6:00pm

As a Team Canada fan and an athletic girl myself, the Olympics are very important to me and Pierre de Coubertin’s Maxine, ‘’the important is to participate’’, inspires me a lot. Unfortunately, nowadays, it seems like the Olympic spirit has now become more about politics and economic decisions… Brazilians are known to be optimistic no matter what. However, after seeing the way their government handled the ‘’Olympic responsibility’’, hope is now turning into anger.

As a developing country, Brazil struggles with poverty, access to education and other social problems such as an important disparity between the rich and the poor. Now, with the hosting of the Rio Games (and the FIFA World Cup in 2014), other challenges have arisen. First, the government cut the funding for the social programs, as the facilities and transportation adaptations for the Olympic Games will cost billions of dollars to the country, which significantly increased the cost of life. Juliana Bueno, a famous Brazilian nutritionist, mentions that:  “Everything is really expensive now. One year ago, I would spend 200 reals (about $60) at the supermarket per week for my job. Now I spend double.” On a larger scale, the number of bankruptcies increased, as well as the unemployment rate, who reached a peak of 7.5% in 2015 (for the last five years). Ultimately, it caused a fall of the financial markets and a downgrade of the national debt rating, putting even more pressure on the Brazilian population.   

Furthermore, Dilma Rousseff’s government is once more accused of corruption. The scandal involves Petrobras, the biggest state-controlled oil company in Brazil who apparently spent more than $2 billion in bribes so that contracts to build the Olympic venues would only be given to certain of their powerful international partners. As a result, the costs of the infrastructures were wildly exaggerated and the buildings took much longer to be completed. 

To conclude, it seems like politics got too involved in the preparation process and brought corruption along the way. I hope all those sacrifices will be worth it, both for the athletes and the locals, and that during these two weeks, the organisation committee tries to put the emphasis on the people of Brazil, as they deserve a moment in the spotlight for all the inconveniences.