Many words have been used to describe the upcoming Games of the XXXI Olympiad—words such as “hell,” “nightmare,” and “state of public calamity,” to name a few. But is Rio really going to be all that bad?
To put it simply: Oh my god yes.
But why are this year’s Summer Olympics so fucked? And will you die if you attend? For myriad reasons, and probably. Let’s get into it.
The dead mascot
Juma the Jaguar, was this year’s Olympic mascot and the heart and spirit of the very games themselves, until she was brutally murdered Harambe-style just a few weeks ago. On that fateful day, Juma had made an appearance at an Olympic torch ceremony, looking bored with her life of captivity as a marketing gimmick.
Later, Juma escaped her enclosure at the zoo, seeking freedom, as all god’s creatures are wont to do. When the military attempted to recapture her, she “moved toward a soldier” only to be shot. RIP Juma, because Juma is now dead, much like...
The dead skydivers
As 28 skydivers attempted to recreate the five Olympic rings using nothing but their human forms, two in the group got their parachutes tangled and fell to their deaths. The performance was “part of the official build-up” to the games. Police are now investigating whether the equipment itself was to blame.
Although I know nothing about skydiving safety, I’m inclined to guess that yes, some safety measures probably failed here, given the games’ past shortcoming in this department...
The dead bikers
Back in April, a fancy new bike path that had been heralded as part of the Olympics’ infrastructure improvements collapsed, killing two people and injuring a third. According to the Associated Press, “A giant wave apparently swept up a rocky cliff, lifted an approximately 150-foot (50-meter) stretch of the bike path and sent it plunging onto the rocks and sea below.”
Shoddy construction is an ongoing problem in Brazil, but the bike path had been championed as “the most beautiful bike path in the world” by Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes. (Not that beauty has much to do with the integrity of the path’s construction.) Now, Paes has apparently changed his mind, calling the path and it’s wave-prone breakage “unpardonable.” What’s more, a spokeswoman for the company that built the bike path refused to tell the AP whether or not it had had a hand in any additional Olympics-related construction projects.
It’s unclear who wanted a bike path anyway, frankly.
Security guards caught stealing
Nine laptops were recently stolen from the Olympic center in Rio. Though the culprits were apparently the center’s own hired security guards. Six of them were involved in some capacity, all of whom have since been fired.
This is a good time to mention that about a third of the country is in poverty.
Beached, disembodied limbs
Ok, to be fair, this one isn’t so much a direct danger as it as a terrible omen of what’s to come. On June 30, directly in front of the beach volleyball arena on Copacabana beach, a beach-goer found “human body parts” that had casually washed up on shore.
Among the body parts were one (1) foot and one (1) something, which has not yet been identified.
The state of Rio de Janeiro was forced to declare a state of “financial disaster” in June, allowing it to take “exceptional measures” to cover its mounting Olympics-related debt. Rio finally got the $900 million federal bailout on June 30, which means the city only got 36 days to fix the many, many problems plaguing what will soon be the Olympic capital of the world.
The lack of funds meant that major Olympic projects are behind schedule, the most notable example being the city’s new public Light Rail System. The city had to halt construction, which left areas and streets in partially completed disrepair, as seen above.
Oil in the water
Just yesterday, Olympic sailors started complaining that an oil slick in Guanabara bay was turning their boats from white to brown. As Camilla Cedercreutz, a sailor from Finland, told the AP, “We’ve never seen anything like this. It was all over the place. There was no way you could avoid it.”
Apparently, Cerecreutz’s partner told her that their boat “looks like a toilet.” Which is either a testament to just how filthy the water really is or a shocking insight into how other teams are getting the most out of their vessels.
Despite its ability to grab headlines, Zika actually isn’t as much a threat as the dozen-odd other risks you’ll be coming up against. The Brazilian Health Minister himself has said that “of the 500,000 foreign tourists who will come, only one will get the Zika virus, so it’s almost a zero risk.”
Which of course, doesn’t mean you definitely won’t contract Zika, it’s just less likely than that you’ll be done in by the...
Deadly super bacteria in the water
Rio’s local bodies of water will expose the world’s greatest athletes to an antibiotic-resistant super bacteria in addition to all that oil I just told you about. Supposedly, the super bacteria actually came from constant flow of untreated hospital waste and sewage.
According to Reuters, one study found that ninety percent of the samples taken from the waterway meant to house this summer’s sailing events tested positive for the nightmare superbug. Fortunately for our triathlon swimmers, only ten percent of the samples in their area came back positive.
Poop in the water
That’s what! This summer, thousands of the world’s top rowers and swimmers will finally face the waters that they’ve been training for their entire lives—and also it will include human sewage. Rio’s waterways are full of raw sewage, which flows in untreated from rivers and open-air ditches. Everyone participating in an outdoor water sport will be swimming in feces.
And if you can believe it, it smells, too. According to the Associated Press, “Prime beaches are deserted because the surf is thick with putrid sludge, and periodic die-offs leave the Olympic lake, Rodrigo de Freitas, littered with rotting fish.”
The rowers seem particularly fucked; they’ll be in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which the AP described as “waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games.” Last summer, the water was found to contain disease-causing viruses at 1.7 million times what would qualify as “hazardous on a Southern California beach.”
That’s if the tourists and athletes make it to the beach at all, since Rio is experiencing...
More crime than ever
In the month of April, murders in the state of Rio were up 15 percent and robberies were up 24 percent. And there doesn’t seem to be a clear end in sight.
According to The Washington Post, even the the Rio state security secretary, José Beltrame, admitted that “without any doubt, the situation got worse in the last four months.” Apparently, “drug gangs” are getting bolder, and thus far, two Spanish Olympic sailors and their coach have been mugged and a German tv station had about 400,000 euros worth of equipment stolen in Rio.
All of this would be less of a problem, of course, if it weren’t for the...
Disgruntled, unpaid cops
“Welcome to hell,” reads the banner being held up by the men and women whose jobs it is to keep humans from danger, “Police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”
A large part of the problem is the fact that the state of Rio de Janeiro simply hasn’t received the already-approved funds it needs to pay for the necessary security (and transportation, for that matter). Francisco Dornelles, Rio’s Mayor, told a local newspaper last week that “the police fleet runs the risk of stopping. We managed to stretch the finances and we’ll only last until the end of the week.”
In the meantime, some police stations had resorted to asking locals to donate such basic necessities as toilet paper. Toilet paper which will then probably end up in some triathlon swimmer’s mouth. The circle of life. Speaking of which...
Hospitals running out of meds
Welcome, we don't have hospitals! - “Aviso” na estrada do Galeão. (Foto: Tiago Bla) pic.twitter.com/NfnrEukkuT— Cecília Olliveira (@Cecillia) June 26, 2016
In the not at all unlikely scenario that bodily harm does befall an Olympian or spectator, there’s no need to worry, because Rio’s hospitals are second to none.
Just kidding! The wounded and sick can anticipate having one hell of a time trying to find a hospital bed. Thanks to Brazil’s financial crisis, the public sector has effectively collapsed—including the city’s hospitals. Rio the state even had to hand over its hospitals to Rio the city in an effort to get their doctors paid, which many still haven’t been.
And to top it all off, the hospitals are running out of syringes and basic medications, with one doctor noting that they “have to improvise.” What exactly that means remains a horrifying mystery, and I will not be around to find out, since I am not going anywhere near the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Let the games begin. And god rest your souls.