The 2016 Summer Olympics were awarded to Rio de Janeiro in 2009 when Brazil had one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Initially, it was thought that the first South American city to host the multi-sport event would benefit from a new level of prosperity.
However, the road to the international Games ended up being plagued by controversies, including the country’s economic crisis. The world class athletic stadiums erected in the city, which were supposed to have a purpose beyond the event, now sit forsaken and deteriorating.
Rio 2016 commenced on the 5th of August and in only a year following the Games, the city’s Olympic park looks like an apocalyptic wasteland that has been deserted for much longer.
Rio 2016 was supposed to bring the city financial gain. Instead, it left behind broken promises and insurmountable debt. In just six months after the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, the newly installed venues already began to decay and now on the anniversary, things are even bleaker.
According to ESPN, the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee still owes $40 million to creditors and the International Olympic Committee has declined to help with the debt.
“We missed an opportunity to transform sports in Brazil, to grow all of the sports to a professional level and to engage children in sports, to build the next champions,” Brazilian sports shooter Felipe Wu told ESPN. “It’s all so disappointing.”
The opposite of the promised legacy of the Olympics ended up resulting for Rio as streets and favelas only saw increased rates of street robberies, deadly assaults, and violent crimes, according to Brazil’s Institute of Public Safety.
Nine new venues were constructed specifically for the Games with the belief that following the event, they would be converted into public facilities to help promote sports for the community. Unfortunately, most of these venues are now boarded up and collecting garbage.
“While 15 of the original 27 venues have hosted some sort of event since the Games, others sit largely abandoned, their decay and despair a constant reminder of what was meant to be,” reported ESPN’s Wayne Drehs and Mariana Lajolo.
The iconic soccer stadium and largest venue, the Maracanȁ, which has a rich history of sporting events for Brazil, had to have its power shut off after amassing a whopping $950,000 electric bill. Now, the Maracanȁ sits unkempt and has been vandalized in the wake of Rio 2016.
“The 2016 Rio Olympics were supposed to be the second of a one-two punch announcing Brazil’s arrival as a world power through dominance in sports,” wrote Drehs and Lajolo of ESPN. “But in many ways, the opposite unfolded.”