Don’t blame it on Rio
We left Rio de Janeiro on Friday and took the day flight to Miami and have since very late Friday night been in Sarasota, which meant a late night drive across Alligator Alley.
As the games closed tonight Rio and the Cariocas managed to pull off the 31st Olympic Games, and it was an unforgettable experience to be apart of it for 10 days. Rio has its issues and they are too big to sweep under the rug and ignore, yet the city and it’s people put on a happy and beautiful show for the world. They have an expression, the Brazilians, fique tranquilo, which means basically not to stress about stuff, because it will work itself out. Well Rio 2016 did.
Yes there were empty seats, a lot of them, ticketing fiascos, organizational errors, dire traffic, too spread-out venues, green water, the smell of sewage, silly zika scaremongering, and a lack of a atmosphere in the Olympic parks, but Rio is a real city, with real life problems, and although they took a broom to it, they were never going to be able to clear it up, and nor did they want to.
The favelas, the poverty, the graffiti, the crime, the traffic, this is all part of Rio’s fabric. Every bit as much as the samba, the partying, the music, the partisan support of their teams, the beaches, carnival, the mountains and the smiling and fun filled Cariocas.
Rio is a vast, over populous city. Scruffy and under invested in but the beauty is there to see, and not just the incredible landmarks of Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain, but also in it’s free spiritedness. As someone said before Rio could not be compared to the list of first world cities that has held the games previously.
Rio had to be compared to Rio as it was the first time that the Games had been held against a backdrop of such economic and political challenges. Like the 2014 World Cup, the event was never going to perfect, but then that wouldn’t have had the mark of Rio. As it is, two of the planet’s biggest sporting events were held here, and fique tranquilo. They did it.