Every four years people from all around the world anxiously await the Summer Olympics. This year, thousands will be in attendance for the opening ceremony and games being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the first South American country ever to host the respected event. From August 5th to 21st, the best athletes representing 205 countries will participate in over 300 events, all with hopes of taking home the gold. Unfortunately, despite the excitement surrounding the games themselves, the overwhelming conversation has been focused on the deteriorating state of the country and how it will affect the Games this year.
Currently, Brazil is in the midst of the worst recession it has seen in over two decades. The country has also been at the center of recent political, economic and health scandals surrounding President Dilma Rousseff, the transmission of the Zika virus, water contamination and security issues. With the clearly declining economic and social conditions in the country, many wonder if Brazil is ready for the Olympics, and how the Games will affect its citizens in the long term. Although speculation runs rampant, it’s just that, speculation, and no one can truly predict the impact the Olympics will have on the wellbeing of the country. In a recent interview with Mayor Eduardo Paes, he stated, “I always say that [sic] to foreigners that come here. I mean, don't come expecting see a First World city. We're not. And the Olympic Games did not solve all of our problems. We still face lots of problems. But to be fair, you have to compare Rio to Rio.”
Although the Olympic Games will not solve all the problems Rio currently faces, it does shine a much-needed light on a part of the world that most people had no idea was in such distress. Hopefully this worldwide attention will bring promise to the residents of the city that political, economic, and environmental change will soon follow. This Friday, as the Paragon team gathers around our televisions to enjoy the kickoff of the historic events and root for our respective countries, we will keep the people of Brazil in mind and hope for a brighter future.