2016 Rio Olympics - "Swimming" in controversey

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil has a big problem, and it’s pretty disgusting.

Apparently the waters in the venues where Olympic athletes from all over the world will be sailing, rowing and even swimming are horribly contaminated with raw sewage. It’s not just a few untreated waste runoffs here and there or a particular area, it’s apparently commonplace in Rio to simply drain raw human waste directly into the nearest open stream or standing body of water, resulting in incredibly high amounts of very serious bacteria and viruses detrimental to human health in nearly every venue where the Olympics will be holding events.

That’s so disgusting that I cannot imagine athletes from any country are eager to head off to Rio at this point. Even if you’re not going to be in direct contact with the water for one of your events, just being in a city where that much raw sewage is openly flowing around is probably a huge potential health risk to an athlete. Apparently Brazilians from the region develop an immunity as they are exposed from childhood, but foreign athletes and visitors will have no such protections. One expert estimates there is a 99% chance of being infected by pathogens if a foreign athlete ingests just three teaspoons of the water, which is less than a mouthful and very easily accidentally ingested, especially by a swimmer. U.S. health officials have warned anyone travelling to the games, be they athlete or tourist, to get vaccinated against both Hepatitus A and typhoid.

What the fuck Brazil?

My first thought when I heard the story ‘Ah crap, international sporting’s reputation really is in the dumps now.’.

I remember watching a Real Sports segment on this problem, like, a year ago. I guess they did nothing to fix it.

They were planning to to do something about it but I guess the plan didn’t really come to fruition. Now they are going to just make it look a bit better. I read somewhere (sorry I can’t remember where), that they were planning to place booms around the competition area so that at least garbage won’t float through the area.

I can’t envision any way they can fix it. Maybe if they had spent the Olympics and Word Cup money on sewers?

They planned a dozen sewage works or something, one opened, the rest ended up in someones pocket.

They also deny there is a problem because they pretend that a lack of an international standard on viral contamination means that viral contamination can be ignored. Even though contamination levels range from 1,000 to 1,000,000 times greater than are acceptable in US waters.

Maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to host the olypics if you don’t have a functional sewer system.

I think that the IOC should be disbanded. They are thoroughly corrupt, on a FIFA scale. If that means no more Olympics, too bad. The “spirit” of the Olympics (namely a world-binding amateur activity) was trammeled and then eaten up and shit out years ago. Now it is a gross commercial extravaganza that promotes nationalism and tribalism more than it transcends boundaries. But if there is an Olympics after the revolution, just put it in Greece every 4 years so that at least they can build a permanent facility for it and not burn billions of graft dollars through these absurd and obscene instantly obsolescent sports complex contracts every time. I admit I have no confidence in the Greek government being able to build the facility, so it would have to be commercial, but at least the Greeks could get some benefit from some kind of revenue stream there.

Anyway, I know not one person in Massachusetts who isn’t extremely pleased that Boston has given up on its bid. The same people responsible for the Big Dig 100x overruns would have been contractors for it.

I think that’s the incredibly sensible solution, and Greece could certainly do with the help there.

The world pretty much agrees with most on the IOC. The West rejected the 2022 Winter Olympics en masse. Its now between Almaty and Beijing.


Voters in Munich, Stockholm, Krakow, and Graubunden, Switzerland, said thanks but no thanks to the Olympics, citing high costs, low public support and security demands. Lviv was forced to pull out due to unrest in Ukraine. Oslo was a clear frontrunner, but its bid was derailed when conservatives and progressives joined forces to say no.

This left a dubious duo: Almaty and Beijing. When Olympic members convene in Kuala Lumpur

The very fact they’ve hired out all the 5 stars hotels in KL for a vote (lovely place to visit) instead of remote voting shows how corrupt the whole thing is. Its just an endless holiday filled with bribery opportunities.

I agree. It is also so sensible that no chance it will happen. It has been proposed in the past. Given my choice between more billions in IMF aid to Greece or simply paying for building a world class Olympic facility, with modest provision for upgrading the facility every twenty or thirty years, I know which I’d choose.

I think all the members of the IOC and their staff should be forced to swim in the same waters the athletes will compete in. Corrupt bastards.

I think the eventual solution to the “nobody wants to host the Olympics anymore” problem is going to be to simply host the Winter and Summer games on an ongoing rotation through cities that have hosted it in the recent past and have the infrastructure already built. It is a hell of a lot cheaper (and less susceptible to corruption) to refresh already existing venues in places like Sochi, Athens, London, Beijing, Turin, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Atlanta and Sydney every dozen or so years than it is to build all new event venues in new host cities that will simply lie fallow and begin decaying the minute the Olympics ends. Just select four or five host cities each for Summer and Winter Games that are somewhat evenly dispersed around the world, then rotate so each city gets to host every 16 or 20 years. In between hosting the IOC could funnel some money to all the cities for venue maintenance, and then the host city for the next couple of upcoming games would be responsible for any updating to venues and infrastructure that was required (in return for the economic boon the games would bring to the host city). The other upside to this is that you would have several very modern and large facilities around the world for each individual sport to hold their World Championships and other large-scale events. This would allow the event venues to see some use in-between Olympic hosting duties and generate revenue for the maintenance and upkeep. Management of the facilities should be a shared responsibility between the IOC and the host countries Olympic Association, with operations run by a vetted and professional organization to significantly reduce graft and corruption.

The issues with the Olympics are fixable, but it’s going to require a complete tear-down of the IOC as it currently exists and a lot of watch-dogging of the new IOC by sports organizations around the world. Much of the power of the IOC (and thus all of the corruption) comes from their being the force that chooses who gets to host and when. Take that away (by using the rotation system above), and you are left with an organization focused less on handing out multi-billion-dollar prizes to corrupt governments and contractors, and more on simple organizational management of the games.

Gawd no, we don’t want it in London. It costs a fortune to start parking destroyers in Docklands, set up AA sites in playgrounds all over the East End and rope off vast sections of London and its infrastructure and half the venues are gone already, as are the athletes quarters. Billions to host it again.

Hear, hear. Well said, Miramon.

What’s the current status of the Athens Olympic facilities from 2004? Granted, a lot can fall apart in a decade, but at least they have something to start from.

EDIT: from this article, the abandoned pool in Athens looks like it’s probably cleaner than Rio…

The very nature of the Olympics is just messed up from a infrastructure part. So many of these countries/Cities spends billions creating venues and buildings that they hope or say can be used afterwards. Then it doesn’t occur and the sites sit mostly abandoned like many of the stadiums from the last FIFA championships.

I would like to see a few set areas done around the world that just rotate. Build a single set of modern venues somewhere in America, Europe etc that are paid for by a group like say the European Union. Then it gets the Olympics like every third time and could be used for like World championships in off years. Having a single City support it all is just financially dumb anymore.

You know, the Greece thing is a nice idea. I can see that maybe the entire Summer Olympics need to move around, but why not have some core events in Greece every four years? Javelin, wrestling, marathon, and a few other events. That would be cool. You could even have them a week before the Summer games start as a kind of warm-up.

At least the pankration and the chariot races, for pity’s sake :)