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A Timeline of Rio’s Problems: Snapshot View of an Olympics in Disarray

13 Jul, 2016

By: Michael Popke

The Olympics begin Aug. 5 and Rio de Janeiro is ready — at least that’s what we’re being told.

“We are happy to have reached the stage we are in,” Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, said at a July 5 news conference. “The Games could start today. All the venues are ready.”

But it’s hard not to question the basis for Nuzman’s statement, based on a series of disastrous news reports that began belching out of Rio more than two years ago, when The New York Times reported in April 2014 that a top International Olympic Committee official called Rio de Janeiro’s preparations “the worst I have experienced.”

From “super bacteria” to Zika scares, doping and dead bodies, below is a select timeline of the problems that have plagued Rio (special thanks to TheWeek.com).

This is the type of stuff that haunts sports tourism officials’ worst nightmares.

• April 16, 2015: 37 tons of dead fish removed from the Rio Olympics rowing venue.

• Sept. 17, 2015: FINA demands virus testing in Rio Olympics water.

• Dec. 24, 2015: Rio de Janeiro declares health system emergency as Olympics loom.

• Jan. 8, 2016: Olympic host state faces financial crisis as games approach.

• March 2, 2016: Less than half the tickets sold for Rio Olympics.

• March 24: The Rio Olympics could be the next victim of Brazil’s corruption scandal.

• April 1, 2016: Security chief for Olympic Games quits as corruption concerns mount. This is not an April Fool’s Day prank.

• April 25, 2016: Olympic officials express concerns about athletes’ safety outside the Olympic Village.

• April 26, 2016: Rio auditor says 11 workers killed during Olympic construction.

• May 12, 2016: Experts warn 2016 Olympics could lead to worldwide Zika outbreak.

• June 11, 2016: Studies find “super bacteria” in Rio’s Olympic venues and top beaches.

• June 24, 2016: Rio drug-testing lab is suspended by anti-doping regulator.

• June 28, 2016: Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor: Olympics could be “big failure.”

• June 30, 2016: Human body parts wash up on shore of Rio’s Olympic beach.

• Aug. 5, 2016: ?

Want to voice your opinion on whether the Olympics in Rio will be great, a fail or somewhere in between? Go to www.sportsdestinations.com and take the poll.

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