Is Brazil ready for the Olympics?


The 2016 Rio Olympic Games is just five months away and we are yet to hear reassuring and comforting words from our Brazilian hosts that it’s a go for the greatest sports show on earth.

The country’s President facing impeachment and the state-owned Petrobras mired in a corruption scandal are just two of the many political issues hounding the Games, the first to be staged in South America.

Construction of venues for the various disciplines is reportedly only 95 percent complete, a claim that betrays the fact that the infrastructure binge is actually behind schedule.

Where no pounding of nails or sawing of lumber is necessary, the picture does not get any better, with waters designated to be sites for sailing events said to be “badly contaminated” as to pose serious risks to athletes.

Just as when this year’s Olympic hosts thought that they can samba through the headaches, here comes the Zika virus giving those planning to compete or to just watch a health scare.

Experts say the mosquito-transmitted virus is potentially dangerous to pregnant women who might give birth to babies with unusually small heads, indication of microcephaly.

Topping the bucket list of woes is the reported disinterest of Brazilians in the Games, not a good sign because that would point to the locals not in the mood to receive thousands of visitors from overseas like they were long-lost friends.

It is ironic that the people seemed not to even remotely stand behind the quadrennial event and what could be the only sport that would tickle them—football.

Brazil, despite its five World Cup titles, has never won the Olympic crown and it is a blow to its pride as a nation not to win what could be the biggest prize of them all.

In the 2012 London Olympics, the country’s footballers were stunned by the Mexicans, rank outsiders who were not given much of a chance to even barge into the Round of 4 but did.

In the last World Cup, in 2014, Brazil was mauled left and right, embarrassing its millions of fans no end.

In the run-up to the 2018 battle for the Jules Rimet Trophy in Russia, the South Americans were off to a sluggish start.

In Rio, on home turf, all would be forgotten if Brazil walked off with the Olympic gold medal, finally.

But first, it should clean house to make the 2016 Olympic Games indeed the greatest show on earth.

The fear, however, is that Brazilians do not know if they will still have Dilma Rousseff as their President when the curtain rises on the start of the Games on August 5.

The host country’s leader almost always usually declares, “Let the Games begin!”

Pray that we get to hear those words.


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