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Garbage. Sewage. Furniture. Dead fish. A dead cat. Dead people. These are just a few things that have all been spotted in Guanabara Bay, the sailing venue for the Olympic Games. The Associated Press conducted tests on the water. The results, first reported in July, were shocking: they found “disease-causing viruses directly linked to human sewage at levels up to 1.7 million times what would be considered highly alarming in the U.S. or Europe.” Experts told the AP athletes were competing “in the viral equivalent of raw sewage, and exposure to dangerous health risks was almost certain.”
Problems weren’t confined to Guanabara Bay. The Associated Press tests also found the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon — venue for canoe sprint and rowing — and Copacabana Beach — home to triathlon and marathon swimming — were also heavily contaminated.
The security budget for the Rio Olympic Games was recently cut by $550 million — or about one-fifth of the total. Rio de Janeiro’s state security secretary, Jose Mariano Beltrame, says those cuts will pose a risk to the Olympics. “If I said the cuts won’t impact anything, I wouldn’t be accurate,” he told The Associated Press in early May. “I wish I could have more policemen. I wish they could work twice as much on the streets.”
Three days after that statement was made, Brazil soccer great Rivaldo told tourists to stay away from the Olympics because of the possibility of violence. “Things are getting uglier here every day,” Rivaldo wrote on his Instagram account. “I advise everyone with plans to visit Brazil for the Olympics in Rio — to stay home. You’ll be putting your life at risk here. This is without even speaking about the state of public hospitals and all the Brazilian political mess. Only God can change the situation in our Brazil.”
3. Construction and Infrastructure:
Brazil is suffering through a brutal economic crisis and the government is embroiled in a corruption scandal. The Olympic Games are difficult to organize at the best of times, and these clearly are not the best of times. Olympic organizers insist the venues will be ready to go come Aug. 5 — the skeptic would say not a day sooner — following multiple delays. Venues aside, questions also remain about the city’s notoriously gridlocked transportation system. A new metro line was supposed to be built, connecting Copacabana to the Olympic Park in Barra, where a number of venues are located. It’s still not finished. In an attempt to ease traffic, Rio has canceled school for the month of August, encouraged residents to work from home, and proclaimed three holidays to coincide with the busiest days of the Games — and has said they’ll add more, as needed. The fact that one of the projects that was actually completed early — a $12.6-million elevated waterfront bike path — collapsed into the sea in April when it failed to withstand a large wave, is not a good sign.
4. Zika Virus:
Many people have already heard about the scary impacts of Zika Virus. We have been hearing about deformed babies for months and we have been warned about not having children if you think you may have been affected. The World Health Organization, as well as the Olympic committee, have said Zika Virus does not pose a serious threat to the games. But so far that has not stopped many athletes from opting out of the games all-together.
5. Police Resources:
The police and Firefighters of Rio have had to conserve their resources as their already underfunded operations have been stretched to their limit. Half of the Rio PD’s police car force has been curbed, along with their helicopters. The police force is in such bad shape that they have even asked for pens, cleaning supplies and toilet paper for the departments.
6. Dead Bodies:
There have been multiple mutilated corpses to wash up on Rio’s beaches in recent months. The shocking part is that these bodies have shown up on the beaches where the volleyball events are set to be held.
Armed robberies of tourists and Olympics athletes have been a large concern leading up the start of the summer games. There have already been a number of athletes reporting being robbed at gunpoint. Three Spanish athletes and two Australian athletes have already been victims of such crimes and a hospital was recently the scene of a large gun battle, a hospital that will be used by tourists and athletes alike.
8. Super Bug:
Brazilian scientists have detected a drug-resistant “super bacteria” growing in some of Rio’s beaches where Olympics events will be held. One German sailor, Erik Heil, was hospitalized last December after getting an infection from competing in Rio’s polluted Guanabara Bay. This super bug entered the cities waterways through a sewage runoff coming from multiple local hospitals.
9. So if, government corruption, high crime rates, severe pollution, flesh eating super bugs, Zika Virus, under-developed infrastructure, a stretched police and fire department aren’t enough to keep you away from this year's summer games, then I wish you the best of luck and may the best man win, or in this case, survive.
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