Olympic city Rio: Can it keep its promises? オリンピック都市リオは約束を守れるか





The Games have resulted in better public services and many new jobs. Besides, incomes and economic factors have improved in Rio because of the Games, although the national economy continues to struggle.



  • controversy : [noun] 論争。長期にわたる公共の意見の相違や白熱した議論
  • facility : [noun] 施設。特定の目的のために使用されるエリアまたは建物
  • promise : [noun] を期待させる。何かをする、または特定のことが起きるという保証
  • rights : [noun] 権利。法的に所有権があること
  • shambles : [noun] 修羅場、ちらかし放題の場所。混乱や無秩序の状態








With just few days into the Rio Olympic Games, a vast mass of humanity from across the world is already thronging the streets of Rio de Janeiro. While their primary attention will be on the medals tally and the Games events, many experts will keep a close watch on Brazil’s political and economic situation, which is a far cry from the festivities associated with a mega event like the Olympic Games. Corruption charges against President Dilma Rousseff led to her removal from office on May 12 and impeachment proceedings are expected to reach their logical end on August 29.

However, the Games must go on. On August 5, a spectacular opening ceremony kicked off Rio 2016, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. The games are being hosted in the midst of economic and political chaos in Brazil, which many believe will overshadow the Games.

The economy apart, the Games have also invited controversies galore. Few days before the inaugural ceremony on August 5, Australian athletes walked out of the Olympic Village because of faulty plumbing work. Some top golfers have stayed away from the Games because of difficult conditions, while sailing and swimming teams might have to compete in the middle of a sewerage in Guanabara Bay. There are also concerns about the state of the bike path and the toxic surroundings of the venue for the beach volleyball games.

In spite of these problems, the organizers say that all the venues are ready. However, Brazil’s recession and the multibillion-dollar scam involving state-controlled oil company Petrobras might take their toll on the Games.

There is a general belief that each Olympic Games creates more problems than it solves for the host country. In Rio’s case, the problems could rise manifold because its economy is already in shambles and its polity in dire straits. In the past, many Olympic nations have sunk into financial confusion, and only few have managed to salvage pride and emerge with a stronger economy. It has been observed that smaller economies benefit more from hosting events because the influx of tourists could make a big difference. However, Brazil’s economy is already massive at $1.8 trillion and the investments are too small to have a major impact. In fact, tourists are expected to stimulate the GDP by only 0.03%. Also, the biggest investments for sporting events are the stadia, which lie unused after the event. According to analysts from Capital Economics (quoted in The Globe and Mail), “We do not expect them [the Games] to provide a material boost to economic activity.”

However, the Games are also known to act as a boost for the economy of some hosting nations. Although the initial investments are humungous, ticket sales and a boost in tourism often balances the costs. According to Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, "The benefits can run from improved infrastructure to less tangible results such as national esteem, better results on the pitch and the international focus they bring, as well as a boost to tourism during and after the competition in question."

In Brazil’s case, too, the initial euphoria of having bagged the rights for the Games pushed the Bovespa Index upward by 14.8%. However, as the event drew nearer and nearer and the problems stared the organizers in the face, the markets have scaled down sharply. Besides, the drop in commodity prices in recent times and the deep-rooted recessionary forces have not helped matters. In fact, inflation has called for drastic measures by the central bank; it increased interest rates to 14.25%, which is the highest in almost a decade.

Brazil’s economic woes started in 2011. Prices slumped for Brazil’s main export commodities like soy, oil, and sugar. Wages have also declined along with economic sluggishness. In fact, in the first three months this year, the country’s economy shrunk by almost 6%. With inflation skyrocketing, the man on the street is finding it that much more difficult to pay back debt taken on when the economy was upbeat.

However, Rio could still spring a surprise in spite of its problems. The Olympic Games have resulted in better public services and many new jobs. According to a study by the Fundacao Getulio Vargas university, incomes and economic indicators have improved in Rio because of the Games, although the national economy continues to struggle.

Rio de Janeiro, which carries the epithet “Marvelous City” because of its beautiful beaches, is Brazil’s second-most populous city after Sao Paulo. Over the next two weeks, the city will host 500,000 sports fans and thousands of Olympians. It is feared that when they depart at the end of the Games, they will leave behind an economy in even deeper recession. But things might be proven otherwise.




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