by Dylan Goldman
The 31st edition of the modern Olympic Games just finished up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and many were concerned about these Games for a plethora of reasons.
Brazil is in the midst of a political crisis, the Zika virus forced many athletes to sit out, and the country has one of the highest crime rates in the world.
However, it turns out that all of these issues had a minimal impact on how these Olympics turned out. Put it this way, if Ryan Lochte was the worst thing that happened, then we probably can consider the Games of the 31st Olympiad a success (sort of).
Even though none of these issues had any impact on the success of these Games, there were still some major problems with the 2016 Olympic Games which poses the question, are the Olympics heading in the right direction?
One issue that stands out is how the IOC has handled different doping cases. The fact that the entire Russian track and field team was banned for this year’s Olympics shows that there is a problem with doping.
There were many more Russian athletes that were banned from the Olympics, which is why the size of the delegation was significantly less compared to what they’ve had in years past. Thirty-one athletes from 12 different countries were found to have been doping for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. If federations continue to cheat, then the Olympics will most certainly be headed towards rock bottom.
Corruption is another issue that continues to haunt the IOC and its president, Thomas Bach. French prosecutors are investigating allegations that the IOC awarded the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo because of payoffs. There are also allegations that stadiums that were built for the Olympics in Brazil were a result of payoffs.
Another issue surrounding the Olympics is the attendance at many of the events.
Mario Andrada, the director of communications for Rio 2016, said that 400,000 tickets were still available with just one week remaining in the Summer Olympics.
Other than when superstars like Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps were competing, it seemed like most of the stadium was empty. Eighty-eight percent of the tickets were sold, which is a solid total, but it’s likely officials were hoping that number would be in the 90s.
The Paralympics, which are set to start in one week, sold only 12 percent of the tickets available, and as a result, officials were forced to make severe budget cuts.
The event that seems closest to hitting rock bottom is the Winter Olympics, which is having severe trouble in finding an appropriate location to hold the Games.
The 2022 Winter Olympics are being held in Beijing, where they will have to use fake snow. In fact, the closest mountain is 50 miles away from China’s capital city.
China beat out a ski resort in Almaty, Kazakhstan in order to secure the bid. Not only are the Summer Olympics heading in the wrong direction, but it appears the Winter Olympics are also not heading in the right direction as well.