Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday July 5, 2016
One Month to Go – Should we panic about Rio Olympics? Get real
When is it time to panic about the Olympics? It’s true, things are not pretty in Rio de Janeiro, even as the Olympic torch arrived Tuesday in Brazil, with three months until the opening ceremony of the Games.
There’s the raw sewage in Guanabara Bay, slated for sailing events. The doubts over whether the subway line connecting the Olympic venues will be finished in time. The horror of the collapse of a recently built $12 million seaside bike path (two dead, three injured), calling into question the integrity of the other structures the city has built for the Games — for which, by the way, ticket sales are still hovering at only about 62%.
But panic? Well, the Zika virus is spreading, with some delegations debuting “Zika-proof” uniforms.
The city’s notorious crime rate looms large, and Amnesty International has called attention to the death toll from police crackdowns in the favelas, or shantytowns.
All this while the country remains embroiled in economic recession, a corruption scandal and political drama, most notably impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.
But let’s pause a moment. It has become tradition to sound alarm bells in the months leading up to an Olympic Games. Before the last go-round, Sochi for example, cries of crisis came often:
Venues built on protected lands. Swollen budgets tied to crime syndicates. Illegal dumping and contaminated water. Anti-gay legislation and hate crimes. Pussy Riot. And stray dogs, everywhere.
But good luck finding an example of a truly noble Olympics. Politics take a toll because the Olympics are never free and clear of their political moment. (Continued: CNN News)
The above cartoon ran locally on June 11, 2015, in advance of the Toronto Pan Am Games.