What Happens After the Rio Olympics?
The 2016 Summer Olympics are over. Closing ceremonies have been performed, medals have been won and athletes are headed back to their home countries. Meanwhile, Rio is left with thousands of displaced citizens, empty stadiums and a golf course that once was a nature preserve.
While the International Olympic Committee has made some reforms, it fundamentally relies on a system that expects countries to spend billions of dollars on monuments meant to last two weeks. This is extremely unsustainable.
Over the years, many Olympic stadiums become unused and abandoned.
That being said, there are plans to use the handball courts to build new schools. The media center will become dorms, and sections of the Olympic center could become a public park. These are all plans that take one thing Rio is lacking: a labor force that gets paid a decent wage. The Olympic Village where the athletes stayed will turn into nice luxury condos that the underpaid working class can’t afford.
According to a report in The New York Times, Rio is now desperately looking for money to pay the working crews at the Olympics while simultaneously worrying about an already high crime rate rising.
Conditions in Rio were not ideal before the games; the government scrambled to squash drug gangs while attempting to correct years and years of environmental and human rights issues. This is nearly impossible to do in such a short amount of time.
“A major sporting event, ”Amnesty International wrote of Rio, “tends to increase the human rights violations that already occur in a host city.”
“I very much understand the I.O.C.’s desire to be more equitable in delivering the Olympics to the developing world,” said Allen Hershkowitz, the founder of Green Sports International, who is an environmental consultant to pro sports leagues and the Olympics. “But the Sochi and Rio Olympics indicate that there are such huge environmental, transportation, water and air-quality questions.”
Hopefully, the IOC and potential Olympic city leaders come to an agreement on how to resolve some of these major issues. As for Rio, they will be feeling the aftermath — good and bad — of these Olympic Games long after everyone is gone.
Marnie Slater is a freelance writer for Weekend Collective and performs stand up comedy in Kansas City. Follow her @marnieslaterkc for upcoming gigs and a whole lot of shenanigans.