The awarding of the Summer Olympics is something that brings great excitement to the winning city, with visions of an avalanche of tourists from all around the world and constant free advertising during the span of the two-week competition. One of the selling points is also the supposed infrastructure that will be left behind once the Games end.
The problem with the last scenario is that it’s something that’s become a canard for seemingly every city doing the hosting. After the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece, the facilities fell into disarray as the country’s finances did the same. In Beijing, a number of places specifically built for events in 2008 were either torn down or became decaying examples of the excess connected to the Chinese government.
While the 2012 London Games appear to have been spared this fate, just one year after the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil is suffering the fate of those other cities. Arenas that were used have been dormant, a complex of other facilities has been locked up and the Olympic Village has no one living in approximately 3,600 apartments.
Rio did fix up a port to make it a social magnet and created an advanced bus system. Yet that cost amid a sliding economy and continued poverty hasn’t moved the needle forward on making life in Brazil truly better. Plus, the horrendous environmental state of Guanabara Bay is just as bad as it was during the Games. There’s really no money to address this important issue.
On top of that situation, the country itself is still in turmoil after the corruption conviction of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the current investigation of Rio’s former mayor, Eduardo Paes. In short, the hangover from this Olympic party will resonate for years to come.