A little more than a month from now, Olympic volleyball players will be spiking balls in the sand on the famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Preparing the city to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games is no simple task, but a series of unfortunate and embarrassing events have added to the skepticism about the fate of the massive international event. Yesterday, a beachgoer discovered a dismembered foot as well as another unidentified body part on the shore, washed up with the tide. The police investigation is underway, but this most recent development has critics wondering whether Rio can ever be ready to host the Games.
Upon initial investigation, police suggest the body parts may belong to a woman or a young adult, but no identification has been made as of this report. Although the discovery is ominous on its own, it compounds the recent string of ‘bad news’ in Rio de Janeiro, which is now just a few weeks away from the Games’ opening ceremonies. The problems are numerous, and widespread, leading many to wonder whether Brazil’s second largest city was a good choice for the epic sporting event.
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Two days prior to the shore discovery, the acting governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro warned that the event might be a “big failure” due to the state’s insufficient finances. “I am optimistic about the games, but I have to show the reality,” Francisco Dornelles told Brazilian newspaper O Globo. “We can make a great Olympics, but if some steps are not taken, it can be a big failure.”
The economic situation is so bad that police and firefighters are protesting against the government over unpaid wages, warning visitors that their safety may be in jeopardy. Public demonstrations were held as recently as Monday over unpaid wages, and graffiti has popped up around the city related to the conflict. On an even broader scale, health officials are concerned about the still-present Zika virus and warning pregnant women to avoid the events and the city entirely, due to the high risk of severe birth defects associated with contracting the mosquito-borne disease.
Despite these events, there has been little discussion about altering the plan for the Games.
Lead image via Eric Steffen/Flickr