How Rio Handled The Olympics

The+Rio+Olympics+showed+the+corruptness+of+a+popular+city.
The Rio Olympics showed the corruptness of a popular city.

The Rio Olympics showed the corruptness of a popular city.

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Creative Commons

The Rio Olympics showed the corruptness of a popular city.

Thomas Jang, Staff Writer

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The Olympic Games are a series of events that take place every four years where people from different countries celebrate and represent their diversity and athletes. The events have taken place in many notable cities around the world, including Paris, Los Angeles, London and Rio de Janeiro. Although the Olympics supposedly represents world diversity, it has been revealed to involve itself with corrupt government officials and inhumane acts. In the 2016 Summer Olympics, which were held last year in Rio, hundreds of families living in the favelas, or slums, faced evictions and the destruction of their homes.

 

In the following years after Rio was declared the host of the 2016 Olympic Games, the Brazilian government forcibly removed families from their homes in the favelas and transferred them to hastily built bungalows without proper air conditioning and transportation. In an interview with NPR, “As Brazil Gears Up For Olympics, Some Poor Families Get Moved Out,” Jeane Tomas stated her opinion on her forced eviction. “Our lives were built around where we lived. The transport is awful here,” she said. “In my opinion, they want us to be there to serve them, then they want us to go as far away as possible.”


From the perspectives of the government officials, the people who have been evicted now live in better conditions than they had before. Leonardo Gryner, the Chief Operating Officer of Rio’s Olympic Organizing Committee, stated that “a few families have been moved to improve the life of many people […] The roads and bus lines that have been put in place will allow people to travel more freely.” Efficient transportation was necessary, but the forced removal of families from their homes was obviously not.

 

According to The Washington Post, in 2009, 275 of the 800 families living in the favela of Vila Autodromo were forced to leave. In relation, more than “60,000 people in the city lost their homes between 2009 and 2013.” It has also been stated that government officials “cajoled or intimidated residents, suggesting that they would get nothing if they did not grab what was offered.” The actions of the Olympic Organizing Committee and the Brazilian government were and still are inhumane and unnecessary. The evictions of hundreds of families from their homes is saddening as people have been living peacefully until the arrival of the Olympics; ironically everything from their families to their homes get torn down in order to prepare for this “honorable” event. Many residents who lived in the favelas have spoken out before and after the Olympics. Sandra de Souza, age 48, said that the Olympics are “exclusion games” and that the events are “by the rich and for the rich.”

 

To resolve the constant problem with evictions and other unnecessary actions by the government, Terre des Hommes, an international children’s rights organization, has asked the International Olympic Committee to provide a series of important recommendations to future host cities, along with a section that secures the respect for child rights. According to The Telegraph, nearly 22,000 families have been removed from their homes since Rio was elected as the next host city for the Olympics. The Olympics has not only affected the city’s economy but also its children and adolescents. Terre des Hommes states that the 22,000 families who were evicted were moved to “Minha Casa and Minha Vida— more than half of which were at one point controlled by militia gangs.” Out of the young people who have experienced the worst, Helena Dias, a homeless teenager, has spoken out against the Olympics. Dias gave an account where she stated that “The ‘collections people’ grabbed my friend and put her in a van and beat her with a stick.” This shows how vulnerable children were and still are on the streets.

 

After years of excitement and jubilance I have had for the Olympics, I now possess a broader perspective of them and what choices the host cities have taken. The research I have conducted has made me angry, upset, and extremely shocked. It has also shown me the worst in our world’s governments and the Olympics itself. The Olympic Games have always been a symbol of world unification and diversity, but if you look closer at each city, you can see its corruption. In last year’s Olympic Games, the city of Rio evicted hundreds of families from their homes in the favelas to dangerous parts of the city with drug gangs, inefficient transportation and no access to even the most basic necessities. Although the city of Rio has taken the wrong choice in its Olympic Games, I am still hopeful that the next Olympics will be better off.

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How Rio Handled The Olympics