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TIO: The Olympics

Illustration by: Brandon Sams | Opinions Editor

The Olympics is a tired out tradition
By Libby Light

As Brazil struggles to fill seats for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, it is not hard to realize this sporting event is becoming outdated. Political corruption, budget cuts and a major virus are warning signs that it might be time put this global affair to sleep.

This year, 10,500 competitors from 206 countries will gather in Rio de Janeiro. As a seemingly time-honored tradition, the event draws attention from across the globe. However, the attention isn’t always positive.

The most recent Olympic Games in Sochi was a complete disaster. Unfinished hotel rooms, illegal waste dumping and masses of stray dogs were frequent issues attendees faced throughout Sochi, Russia. The infamous Twitter hashtag #SochiProblems provided countless hours of entertainment across the world.

This year, athletes and attendees may face strikingly similar problems as builders have been hit with a $500 million budget cut. The tremendous loss of funds could force stadiums to stay unfinished.

Matt Smith, World Rowing executive director said, “I’ve been around since Los Angeles in 1984 and we haven’t been in such a situation where a country that is staging the games is in such a vulnerable situation.”

The country is especially exposed now that its major leaders are in danger of being removed. The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled in favor of opening impeachment proceedings against Vice President Michel Temer April 5th. Similar actions are underway against President Dilma Rousseff as a result of corruptions and bribery scandals.

Another major concern for tourists is the Zika virus. Most of Brazil is home to the specific type of mosquito which spreads the virus. In Brazil alone, there have been 745 confirmed cases of microcephaly, a condition associated with infants born from mothers with Zika.

With so many dangerous factors surrounding the athletic event, it’s not hard to see why tourists are hesitant to attend. Tickets to this year’s Rio Olympics simply aren’t selling. With only four months until the opening ceremony, sales are at about 50 percent. The small number is especially concerning considering how cheap seats are—3.8 million tickets are $30 or less.

Despite an incredible amount of controversy and turmoil, the Olympics does have positive aspects. About 90,000 people will be employed by the Rio organizing committee. The high amount of jobs provided is important because 21.4 percent of Brazilians live in poverty.

This year’s Olympic Games will be held across four regions of the city. The massive amount of construction may seem like a way to help build Rio. However, if Sochi 2014 is any indication, the structures could be a disaster.

Just two years after being erected, Sochi’s Olympic stadiums have been abandoned and are crumbling to pieces. The company responsible for manufacturing a vast majority of the buildings is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Photos of the complex prove incredibly eerie. Bolshoy Ice Dome, which housed the ice hockey competition, costs Russian taxpayers over $14,000 per day to maintain. Despite only being used twice, Fisht Stadium has been partially disassembled.

Former Olympic buildings could turn into a disastrous headache for citizens of Rio. No city needs dozens of stadiums capable of holding thousands of guests on a daily basis—especially a country riddled with poverty and corruption like Brazil.

The world loves to tune in to the opening and closing ceremonies. We love to watch the drama unfold of whose gymnastics routine was more dynamic or who swam a fraction of a second quicker. But doesn’t the cost seem too steep?

Seventeen days of casual entertainment isn’t worth the trade if a struggling, impoverished country has to spend years suffering.

Tradition is not in danger, Brazil is
By Cris Rivera

The Olympics has always been one of the few events the world comes together in a peaceful manner to enjoy and compete for supremacy in physical sports. However, unwarranted concerns have been raised about its importance due to this year’s low ticket sales.

There are only a few months left before the kick off of this year’s Summer Olympics, and Brazil, the host country this time around, is struggling to increase low ticket sales. Only half of the total amount of tickets have been sold for the Olympic Games, which has raised many concerns on the importance of the Olympics.

As with most issues of this scale, there are more moving parts, in addition to complications factoring into the resulting lack of ticket sales Brazil is currently experiencing. The low sales are not necessarily the fault of the Olympics, but more so the host country.

The biggest, most outstanding of these factors is the political turmoil currently engulfing the country. The Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is pending an impeachment trial for casting a curtain on the budget deficit of the country. It is believed Rouseff’s chief of staff, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was only given his position as a way to gain immunity from prosecution of lower courts for his alleged corruption crimes.

Aside from the political instability, there is also economic volatility overpowering Brazil. In 2015, Brazil’s economy diminished by 3.8 percent, the biggest drop since the 1990s, marking the country’s most prolonged recession since the 1930s. The current recession comes after an economic boom in 2011, when the country found large oil reserves and its economy skyrocketed past the United Kingdom’s. Those good times were short lived and its currency has gone down 24% in comparison to the dollar.

Another major concern tied to the Olympic Games is the threat of terrorism. After the attacks on Paris and Brussels, the international community is attempting to bring better protection to the participants and fans of the Olympics. With so many countries involved, the international community is sparing no expense to make sure it is safe from any kind of attack. Brazil’s anti-terror chiefs are anticipating the worst kind of terror attack to prevent anything from going amiss.

The ticket sale problem is not related to the Olympics, but the safety and instability concerns in Brazil. There may be doubts on Brazil’s ability to provide security, but it is important to remember the country will have help from the world.

When the stakes are this high it is near impossible for a country to let the world down.