Stephen Wade – Associated Press, 02/05/2016
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian organizers have reiterated they have no intention of canceling the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of the outbreak of the Zika virus, with Sports Minister George Hilton saying the topic “is not in discussion.”
Hilton issued a statement Thursday saying he “lamented material and opinions in the press” speculating that South America’s first Olympics might be called off.
“The Brazilian government is fully committed to ensure that the 2016 Rio games take place in an atmosphere of security and tranquility,” Hilton wrote.
Bill Chappell – NPR, 8/1/2015
Saying that recent stories about raw sewage in Brazilian waterways that will serve as Olympics venues in 2016 helped “wake us up again and put this back on the agenda,” the head of sailing’s world governing body says his group will test for viruses and bacteria in the water.
The International Sailing Federation’s chief executive, Peter Sowrey, tells the AP that the move is prompted by concerns over athletes’ health and safety.
The news comes days after the AP published a report on pollution in Rio’s Guanabara Bay, the scene for sailing competitions in next summer’s Olympic Games, and Rodrigo de Freitas lake, which will host rowing and canoeing events.
Vivek Chaudhary – ESPN FC, 6/20/2015
As Brazil marks one year since hosting the World Cup, it reflects on the tournament’s checkered legacy. More than $3 billion was spent on building five new stadiums and renovating seven existing ones, but many of these so-called white elephants are as likely now to collect dust as they are to generate ticket receipts.
“When I look back on the 2014 World Cup, it is not good,” the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, told ESPN FC. “Brazil was left with some great stadiums, but they were too expensive because of corruption.
“Brazilians have not benefited from the tournament. There has been no legacy for them. The World Cup still makes them angry. There is regret that we even staged it.”
Aruna Viswanatha and Sara Germano – The Wall Street Journal, 6/12/2015
U.S. authorities are examining payments made by Nike Inc. under a groundbreaking 1996 soccer sponsorship with Brazil for possible evidence of any wrongdoing by the company in addition to its counterparts in the deal, people familiar with the matter said.
The examination indicates the company is still of interest as the Justice Department pursues its wide-ranging probe of corruption in the global soccer business.
Allegations of corruption around Nike’s 10-year, $160 million agreement to sponsor Brazil’s national team are discussed in barely veiled terms in the Justice Department’s 161-page indictment of officials in and around soccer’s governing body, FIFA.
Taylor Barnes, USA Today – 5/28/2015
As word of the arrests of 14 FIFA officials and sports executives spread, many Brazilians responded with surprise, a measure of support and a sense of vindication over the news.
The country has seen large-scale protests since 2013, often directed at the government with many exasperated with expenditures on last year’s World Cup and the Summer Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host next year.
In the year since the World Cup, outsize stadiums built in cities across Brazil that do not have soccer clubs large enough to fill them have reportedly been used as bus parking lots, and venues to host children’s parties, weddings and religious events.
Eric Ehrmann – Huffington Post, 5/12/2015
In São Paulo recently, gunmen raided the fan club of popular first division soccer team Corinthians called Pavilion 9 during a party, forced eight members to the floor and murdered them in cold blood.
The mob-style rubout killed more people than the infamous St. Valentines Day Massacre orchestrated by Chicago gangster Al Capone.
But in Brazil, where riots and killings are part of the urban landscape, people shrug it off and the victims become part of the body count in the growing conflict between haves and have-nots.
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 5/11/2015
It has been almost a year since the World Cup in Brazil. The party is long over, but the country is still dealing with the hangover — in the form of “white elephant” stadiums and unfinished infrastructure projects. They come at a time when the country faces economic woes and the prospect of another expensive mega event: next year’s summer Olympics.
The most expensive World Cup stadium — located in the capital, Brasilia, and with a price tag of $550 million — is being used as a parking lot for buses.
The stadium in Cuiaba — which cost some $215 million to build — has made news repeatedly: first for being closed down because of faulty construction, and then recently for the homeless people squatting in its unused locker rooms.