The 2016 Olympic Games begin this week in Rio and for a two-week span, all eyes will be on the international competition. While the idea behind the Games is admirable – countries from around the world putting aside their differences to compete in friendly competition – the execution of the Games is slightly concerning.
Reports have surfaced from publications such as The Independent and The Guardian, describing the questionable conditions athletes will be competing in and living in during the Games. The athlete housing was in such poor condition, the Australian team opted to find their own accommodations for the Games.
According to one Independent article, three teaspoons of the water is certain to get the athletes ill. 1,400 athletes are at risk of contracting a virus from the water and some experts are telling athletes to “not put your head under the water.”
This should be alarming, as the world’s best athletes are going to have to doggy-paddle their way through the questionable water.
Rio has made promises to clean up their waterways and be prepared for the onslaught of attention that the Olympics will bring. But for me, that is one point of contention about the Olympic Games. Why are countries throwing millions of dollars towards projects to impress the world for a mere two-week spectacle?
There is no guarantee hosting the Games will be the economic driver needed to make it worthwhile. At the end, the Olympic Committee will say thanks to the host country and leave them with the bill.
If the Olympics need racing facilities of the highest standard, they should spend the money to create the facilities – one summer games location and one winter games location – instead of having the circus move from country to country. This way, they could ensure the facilities were up to the highest standards while also ensuring the health of the athletes competing in them. It would also stop countries from going into extreme debt to construct the facilities themselves.
To be honest, I believe there are many issues with the way the Olympic Games operate, and this is just one example. I don’t have the word count to detail my full argument about it.
I understand the desire to want to celebrate sport, and the Olympics do highlight sports that aren’t often in the spotlight. This is the foundation that the Games were built upon and it is what continues to propel it. However, I believe it can be done without jeopardizing the health of the athletes and the economy of the host countries.