As the Olympics came to an end, for two weeks we cherished every moment of it, watching the glittering opening ceremony, Gisele Bundchen stealing the show with her longest catwalk, athletes competing against each other vying for medals, witnessing the feats of sporting achievement, the superhuman athletic moves, with everyone putting their best foot forward in order to reach the heights of glory, fame and make their country proud, putting it on the world map.
The Olympics is the biggest sports event on the planet which unites the global community, where thousands of athlete put their dedication and hard work for their chosen sport on display and the finest of them reach the glory.
It must be an amazing experience for Brazilians to host two of the biggest events FIFA World Cup and Olympics within a span of two years.
But as the glamour of Olympics fade away those at the bottom of society are unlikely to see much benefit from the games despite the big investment promises made to them by the government.
Rio De Janeiro, the city hosting Olympics has a population of 6.2 million with 20 percent, or 1.2 million, living in poverty in Favela (slum with urban areas). The govt. started several initiatives to improve the lives of Favelas after Rio won the Olympic bid but failed miserably and most of the money went into transforming places other than Favelas. The games have brought the threat of eviction and there have been reports of killings of civilians by police with impunity.
Criticism of games had started before its beginning as the Brazilians believed Olympic will bring more harm to the nation than good. The Olympic torch was welcomed with protest, people attempting to extinguish its flame but these protesters were met with rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas.
The fireworks in opening ceremony at Maracana Stadium was spectacular but it also shed the light on Rio’s social divide. The poor people living in Favela watched the opening ceremony from their rooftops. For the poor Olympics were a distant dream, the ticket for opening ceremony ranged from $63 to $1400 while a minimum wage worker in Brazil takes home $55 a week. It was more of like a party where only a select few were invited.
Despite the presence of 30,000 journalist from across the world, little attention has been given to issues affecting the Rio residents specially the poor’s. The govt. and the organizers tried their best to hide the plight of poor residents instead of using the Olympics to help them. It is strange on the part of International Media Outlet claiming Rio Olympics to be a grand success despite so many problems left even after the games.
The Olympics have indeed reshaped Rio, at a cost of $4.6-billion for sporting venues but it didn’t bring much to lower section of society. Hope, Rio should serve as a lesson to other cities wishing to host the games that providing basic necessities like education, health, security to its citizens should be the priority.