The Deadly Olympics

Over the summer, the 2016 Olympic Games were held in Rio de Janeiro. With all major events, there are obstacles. Before the games even started, however, Rio was running into problems.

Water Quality

One of the most concerning issues in Rio was the quality of the water. In May of 2016, the water in Guanabra Bay was tested and the sewage level was disturbingly high. Scientists questioned the durability of the filters at the water plant. This was one of the main sources of water for the aquatic events. The Rowing teams were put in harm’s way. The athletes had to use, “bleach on their oars, anti-bacterial mouthwash, and isolate their water bottles in plastic bags in order to avoid any potential bacteria,” (Chicagotribune).

Not only that, a canoe actually hit a submerged sofa that was bobbing in the bay. Another problem that occurred with the water was that the diving pool turned a mysterious green color. To solve the problem, the Rio officials drained the diving pool and filled it with the water from the practice pool. A spokesman for Rio 2016, Mario Andrada, disused how, "radical measures were necessary to ensure clear water for both judges and competitors during an event that requires athletes to spend much of their time underwater.”

Zika Virus

There were also issues unrelated to the water that plagued Brazil, such as the Zika Virus. The Center for Disease Control issued a level 2 Zika warning to the Rio region. Going into the Olympics, many people were scared that they would get infected and put their loved ones at risk. One of the US Open champions, Dustin Johnson, even quit the USA team after two days in Rio. "I felt it would be irresponsible to put myself, her or our family at risk," Stated Mr. Johnson. However, he is only one of few people that left the Olympics. There is about another fourteen confirmed Olympians that also left because they didn’t want to put their health at risk.


Secondly, the Police force during the games was not prepared for the waves of tourists. The citizens of Brazil do not put their faith in the local force. The South American country holds one of the highest murder rates. These two facts should have raised a red flag for the Olympic committee. Crime, drugs and theft, is a huge problem in Rio. There were many reports of robbery during the Olympics including, but not limited to, a family robbed at gun point and a two members of the Australian team robbed during a fire evacuation.


Lastly, houses in Rio had to be destroyed in order to build all the necessary arenas. As a result, roughly sixty thousand natives lost their homes in order to provide space for the Olympics. Another consequence was that Rio did not have nearly enough space for the games.

Overall, the sporting event proceeded with hiccups, but not as many as people expected. There were zero cases of anyone getting the Zika Viruses and everyone went back to their countries safe and sound. However, In light of the issues concerning Rio de Janeiro, the Olympic Committee should consider which counties are best suited for hosting the games. Criteria should include sanitation, safety for the athletes and tourists, and stable finances to host the games. Given the state of Rio de Janeiro prior to the Olympics games, why was the city selected to host such a big event.

Alex Betz '17