Scandals, corruption, money laundering, the worst recession in 25 years in Brazil threaten to put a damper on the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Brazil depends heavily on its oil revenues for much of its economy. The world price for petroleum has plummeted and Brazil is suffering. Added to that a two year investigation of the state owned Petrobras corporation, dubbed Operation Car Wash, has uncovered suspicion that over one billion dollars in revenue has been siphoned off by corrupt officials. The timeline starts when the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was chair of the corporation.
Many of Rousseff’s inner circle are under suspicion. The president is facing impeachment and may be out of office before August. Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been taken into custody for questioning. He was released after a short period. Rousseff’s gambit to make him a member of the current government to shield him from court has failed as the country’s judges have ruled the move illegal.
The economic recession has hit the preparations for the Olympic venues hard. Some venues have been hit with budget cuts and the contracts for the equestrian and tennis venues were recinded. The police chief for Rio made a statement that his budget has just been cut by $600 million US. It is difficult to imagine that security will not be affected by such a massive cut.
Some of the sailing and water sports facilities have already been modified. The concern over the heavily polluted water around Rio de Janeiro has some athletes taking extreme measures to avoid contamination. While Rio has a modern face, many of the home and apartment buildings lack basic sewer connections or treatment and raw sewage flows into most of the waterways. One of the promises made when competing to hold this year’s games was the promise to clean up the waterways. It didn’t happen.
It seems unbelievable that on top of all the scandal and uproar in Brazilian politics that anything more could be added to the mix, but the epidemic of the mosquito borne Zika virus has prompted WHO to declare a health emergency. Coupled with what might be a mild viral infection is the real possibility that the virus causes profound damage to the unborn. It has also been implicated in an increase in Guillain Barre Syndrome which can cause paralysis and/or death. Women who might be pregnant or who might become pregnant have been warned of the dangers of travelling to Brazil or other affected countries.
This last week, about 2 million people marched in the streets of Rio to announce their displeasure with their government’s handling of affairs.
By the same author:
Brazil in crisis
Rotten fish float in Rio Olympic lagoon
Rio holds junior world championships in dirty water
Brazil 2016 Olympics if you go be very very careful
He came to the attention of authorities for his abusive behavior to his wife. Eventually he became dependent on her for his care.
Awareness of the danger to athletes is growing. A movie currently making the rounds is Concussion which is based on facts surrounding professional American football players. Society has known for many years that repeated blows to the head damage the brain. We even have a trite saying to describe a person so damaged – punch drunk.
Some professional athletes are bequeathing their brains to researchers so that more can be learned about the trauma. The CDC has page called Heads Up with information for parents and coaches about how to prevent and/or recognize concussion when it happens.
The brain can be injured when the skull is either jerked abruptly or a blow causes the brain to bounce against the inside of the bony case, or to twist inside it. In the past, many head injuries were laughed off because people did not know the seriousness of the injury as sometimes there are no overt signs.
One sign that is always indicative of a concussion is loss of consciousness, even for a moment. It should mean a trip to emergency even if the person claims to be fine.
Related reading by same writer:
NFL players risk permanent brain damage
Journal of American Medical Association
CDC Heads Up
They also pointed out the abuse of the Therapeutic Use Exemption(TUE) which allowed some athletes to take what would normally be banned substances and also that some more favoured athletes were allowed to present backdated prescriptions.
The doping probably has not ceased. It is more likely that the mass team doping has stopped and more subtle and incrementally smaller dosages are being used.
One unnamed but “respected” professional cyclist felt that 90 percent of the professional peloton continues to dope, though “he thought that there was little orchestrated team doping in the manner that teams had previously employed,” according to the report. Another professional, also unnamed, put the figure at 20 percent. Velo News
This year’s professional cycling is underway. The Tour de France starts July 4th.
CIRC Report Executive Summary - Velo News
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