First I want to say congratulations to local talents Morgan Craft and Josh Richmond who are both competing in shooting events in the Olympics in Rio! How amazing is it that Sullivan County has managed to produce two Olympic shooters in the same year? Everyone here at Webb Weekly wishes them both the best of luck!
More than anything, however, we want them to be safe! Things have been volatile in Rio in the weeks and months leading up to the games.
I generally like watching the Olympics, particularly the gymnastics events, but I’m not so sure how things are going to go this year. Rio seems to be plagued with problems and I hope that they don’t affect the events.
One of the bigger issues seems so be directly related to sanitation. It appears that there are big problems with the sewage system in Rio and that could be potentially dangerous for those competing in Triathalon and Sailing events that place them in the rivers and open waters surrounding Rio.
Stelberto Soares, a municipal engineer, recently told The New York Times, “These rivers are pure sludge.”
None of this bodes well for Olympic competitors. Especially considering that last month, the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro declared “a state of public calamity.”
One of the scariest problems is the threat of violence. Twenty-one people have already been killed by stray bullets outside of Olympic venues or on routes between them this year.
According to Newsweek, “Last April, Jason Lee, a jiujitsu fighter from New Zealand who has lived in Rio the past 10 months, was kidnapped at gunpoint, driven to an ATM and forced to withdraw the equivalent of $866. This is not uncommon; “Lightning kidnappings” are nearly as popular in Brazil as feijoada [a Portuguese dish]. What may have upset Lee is that his two abductors were Brazilian highway patrol officers, but then this bankrupt country has been delinquent in paying salaries to many police officers for months.”
Rio is far from the first Olympic site to have troubles. There was the bombing in Atlanta in 1996, a US citizen was fatally stabbed by a Chinese national at a tourist site on the first full day of competition in Beijing, and in Munich in 1972, 11 Israeli Olympians were the victims of an extremist attack.
It should also be noted that Athens was said to be wholly unprepared and the games there went off with very little problems.
Hopefully, things will come together for Rio and those who have worked so hard to get to the games. It’s terrible to think of all those competitors working so hard only to have their efforts undermined by city that clearly didn’t understand the scope of the undertaking of hosting the Olympic games.
With all these problems that have plagued the Olympic games, it makes you wonder why the International Olympic Committee has yet to assert and build a permanent Olympic site.