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Summer Olympics: Can Brazil Deliver?

May 20, 2016

Summer Olympics: Can Brazil Deliver?

During assembly on Friday, May 20, Sammy Bernstein '19 talked about whether Brazil can keep its promises for the 2016 Summer Olympics. She spoke as a member of the JBS Current Events Club. Her remarks follow:

Good morning, faculty and fellow students.

At first, everyone wants a chance to host the Olympics. However, what happens when a country wins the bid, and goes into an economic crisis?

Brazil is set to host the 2016 Olympic Games. However, Brazil is not the country it was back in 2009 when it won the bid. Their economy has slipped into a recession, their government has yet to deliver on environmental promises, and the Zika virus poses a major concern for Olympic athletes as well as tourists. Furthermore, impeachment efforts to kick Brazil’s current president Dilma Rousseff out of office makes it unclear who will be leading the country in the near future.

As stated earlier, Brazil has yet to deliver on environmental promises they have made concerning the games. Most significantly, is their promise to clean up pollution at the Guanabara Bay and Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, or more importantly, the location set to hold the rowing events of the Olympic games. Brazil has promised to install barriers across more than a dozen of Rio’s dying rivers to hold back trash. Moreover, there has been a promised fleet of boats that will supposedly patrol to keep debris out of the way of Olympic athletes in the water. Along with Brazil having to deal with the health of Rio’s rivers, the country also has to deal with the health of it’s citizens. The coastal city of Recife is considered ground zero for the Zika virus, and more and more Brazilian cities are having to be fumigated to combat the mosquitoes that carry the virus. With less than three months more time to prepare, the human waste that fouls the beaches of Rio and the threat of the Zika Virus suggests that Brazil may not be able to fulfill its promises.

Along with dealing with environmental issues, Brazil has its hands full with a political scandal as well. President Dilma Rousseff was recently voted to be put on trial over charges that she disguised the size of the Brazilian budget deficit to put the economy in a better light for her 2014 reelection. President Rousseff was informed early Thursday morning that she had been suspended, and vowed to prove her innocence. However, the 55-22 vote to try her shows that the opposition is very close to having the two-thirds majority required to impeach the president. With efforts to impeach the president becoming more and more prevalent, Brazil may need to consider handling one issue at a time.

In conclusion, Brazil has accomplished many amazing things as a country. Brazil was able to beat out Tokyo, Madrid, and even an Obama-backed Chicago bid to host the Olympic games. The country has further proved itself of being able to host international games when it was the home of the Pan American games in 1963 and 2004. As the Olympic Games are around the corner, we can all hope the best for Brazil and hope the country pulls off an amazing 2016 Olympic Games. The Olympic motto is Citius-Altius-Fortius, which is used to encourage the athletes to give it his or her best during the competition, I hope we can all encourage Brazil to do its best in hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.

Thank You.