The 2016 Rio Olympics have been an absolute nightmare, a total failure. Since day one the even have been inundated with corruption that has led to the worst conditions athletes have ever seen. Athletes are almost universal in their complaints about the poor quality of their dwellings. Many stories have come out speaking of exposed wires, holes in ceilings, doors improperly install, etc. Spectators who come to watch the games have complained about the arrangements in the arena.
The games themselves are suffering from a lack of interest. Seats are remaining empty in the tens of thousands. The organizers of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have announced that they will be giving away almost a quarter million free tickets. 247,000 tickets will be given to underprivileged children in the country. Already, as Brazil has taken on China in women’s soccer. The attendance has been 13,439 with a total arena capacity of 60,000. The atmosphere for the games is described as dead and underwhelming.
The fact so many tickets have to be given away shows how poorly the games are doing. The organizers claim that so far it has not been an economic loss. According to Rio 2016 director of communications Mario Andrada:
“We reached 100 percent of the projected revenue. We sold the most expensive tickets, so we can afford to give some away.
“There are several sports that are unknown to the youth, like golf and rugby. We teach these kids Olympic values, we teach them how to play these sports.
“The social program will kick in the sports we don’t know. In field hockey for example, the kids learn how to play and had a lot of fun. But they never saw a real field hockey game.”
It seems unlikely that the games will break even, let alone turn a profit. Olympic events are notoriously costly, and almost never break even during the best of times. Astronomical amounts of productive capital are wasted on these events. Housing is built that is needed for the poor, particularly in Brazil where the favelas (sprawling slums) adorn every hill. All across the world the number of homeless or living in inadequate housing demonstrate a desperate need. In the end, much of it was wasted on poorly constructed villas. It’s a true hallmark of capitalism and its supposed rational allocation of resources.
It has been a political mess as well. From the start the games were being used as a part of a harassment campaign against Russia in its ongoing feud with the United States. Allegations of doping were made against Russian athletes that caused a few hundred of them to be banned from the games. Russia has denied any involvement in any unethical practises. Just recently it has been announced that 270 of the athletes will be allowed to compete. A move which many suspect to be a part of the effort to combat the poor attendance.
These Olympics have not gone without protests. As the Olympic torch reached Rio, police used stun grenades and tear gas against protesters that were trying to disrupt its journey. 450 armed police officers were required to keep the torch safe from protesters. People in the streets of Rio have been carrying out-anti-government demonstrations. Their claim is that the country doesn’t deserve the Olympics given their rampant poverty. 85,000 police and soldiers have been deployed in the city in an attempt to keep order. By comparison, this was twice the amount used in London four years ago.
Capitalism cannot leave well enough alone. The spirit of the games was to celebrate pure athletics. On the day of the events, the lower classes were given the day off to watch the contests. It was a celebration of the human spirit. Today it has degenerated into corporate shilling for advertising space, and political bickering among the imperialist powers. Actual sports competitions have taken a backseat to mud flinging among political rivals. There is little that could adequately describe what capitalism does to humanity. The spirit of human excellence in athletics, reduced to a platform for selling over priced commodities made with slave labour conditions.
Under socialism, such nonsense would not be tolerated. Human beings would be allowed to push for their full potential, not just in athletics, but in all other fields as well. It would become possible, because such skills would not be made subject to the whims of profit making. The human spirit would be allowed to soar over petty individualist desires – both material and political.