The pessimism over the 2016 Rio Olympics is growing with each passing day. What should be a celebration of the top athletes in the world in the largest country in South America is looking more and more like it will be a complete disaster. There were calls to move the Games due to the prominence of the Zika Virus in Brazil (which, in fairness, the World Health Organization shot down), a number of NBC employees are reportedly scared over having to cover the event, a handful of basketball players won’t participate for non-Zika purposes, and some athletes who are considering attending will go to pretty serious extremes just in case something bad happens in Rio.
But listen, if there’s one place that we haven’t heard anything from, it’s Rio itself. The state of Rio de Janeiro hasn’t had a chance to push back against all of the claims that something is wrong. So let’s turn to BBC, which has an update on how things are going down there.
The Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro has declared a financial emergency less than 50 days before the Olympics.
Interim Governor Francisco Dornelles says the “serious economic crisis” threatens to stop the state from honouring commitments for the Games.
Most public funding for the Olympics has come from Rio’s city government, but the state is responsible for areas such as transport and policing.
…oh. Uh, that doesn’t sound good!
BBC reports that Rio has a projected budget deficit of $5.5 billion. To compensate for some of Rio’s financial issues, interim Brazilian president Michel Temer has promised to help.
We’re sure – well, kind of sure – that things will be fine once the Games get underway and the focus is on the various competitions instead of everything going wrong during the lead up to the games. But man, it’s not off base to think that holding the Olympics in Rio this year might have been a terrible idea.