Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Rio Might Actually Pull off the Olympic Games with Gusto

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Rio Might Actually Pull off the Olympic Games with Gusto

Article excerpt

Rio de Janeiro is not a perfect city. And as the Olympic games approach, fears that the city's imperfections could invite catastrophe have been a frequent subject of media attention.

The homicide rate - and the rate of killings by police - has been halved since the city won the right to host the Summer Games, reports USA Today. But security issues remain a theme: With the annual homicide rate at 54 murders per 100,000 residents, Brazil announced that it would send 85,000 security agents into the streets for the Games, including 38,000 members of the military. (Never mind that many of those officers haven't been paid in months, because the state government's finances are in such deep trouble that the governor warned of a "big failure" when the August Olympics arrived.)

And in what was perhaps the capstone of an ugly media tour, a 16- month-long study commissioned by the Associated Press this week found that the city's waterways - including venues to be used by Olympic rowers and sailors - contained dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria stemming from untreated sewage, with one expert quoted as advising visitors not to put their heads underwater.

Such problems, and a host of others, will endure well after the flocks of tourists leave town.

But some Brazilians predict that negative coverage of the host city will fade once the Games begin, pointing to the city's management of the 2014 World Cup - and a national culture known for dazzling foreign tourists with its enthusiasm for cultural parades, Carnival, New Year's Eve, and sporting events.

"No one throws parties like Brazil," said Denis Eduardo, a travel agent from Sao Paulo, in an interview with the Associated Press. "People might be bashing Brazil now, as if all previous Olympics had been perfect, but it won't be long until they are all enjoying it here. …

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