Largely known for corruption, poisoned politics and over-the-top marketing pushes in quest of corporate dollars, the International Olympic Committee has a shot to improve its soiled reputation by cracking down on Rio de Janeiro’s epic failure to deal with its massive environmental disaster that could turn the Olympic Sailing competition into a nasty dodge the floating carcasses, mattresses, garbage and brown sewage event.
The New York Times front page of yesterday chronicled the mess in Guanabara Bay, which is supposed to be the site of the 2016 Olympics sailing and windsurfing competiti0ns.
An Austrian sailor training for the event called the bay the foulest place he ever trained, adding that he was afraid to step into the gunk while launching his boat. The German team said the waterway is the dump that is Rio.
Lars Grael, two-time Brazilian Olympic medalist, described the water as “dark, brown and stinking.” He said he saw human corpses floating in Guanabara Bay four different times. He wants the event moved to a resort area.
Brazilian officials, who had five years to prepare for the big event, say there is no Plan B.
They have more pressing things to worry about, such as beginning of construction for the Deodoro sports complex, which is the second most important site of the Games after the Olympic village.
Also, Brazil hasn’t completed the 12 stadiums that are supposed to host the World Cup, which kicks off June 12. The planned transit projects for the soccer tourney won’t open until the Cup is awarded.
IOC VP John Coates huffed that Rio’s preparation is the worst of recent memory, one that makes the trouble-plagued Athens Games looking like it went off with German precision.
Yet, the organization said it is premature to speculate about moving the Games.
Brazil’s sports minister has called the IOC out. He guarantees the carnival will go on because the Olympic governing body doesn’t want to loss sponsorship big bucks.
The minister probably got that right, but think of the permanent damage to the IOC reputation if NBC’s cameras capture a sailing boat bump up against a human corpse.
Is the IOC willing to risk that blow by greedily grasping at the corporate riches of Rio?