Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The IOC and the Olympic movement is possibly looking at two failed Olympic Games

(UPDATE to add some statistics and to tighten up my grammar.)

In two weeks from today a team of IOC inspectors and two IOC Presidential candidates are to land in Brazil and take a look around.

What makes this trip so eventful is that the head of the Rio Olympic Public Authority, that agency which is coordinating the building of the Rio Games infrastructure, just resigned today with no reason given for his departure.

It is not the first time there has been a management shake-ups within the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) ranks. According to the Los Angeles Times the BOC has burned through two chief executives, three operation officers, and four marketing directors in just three-years. This turnover illustrates that these former executives either had no confidence in the BOC or that they were fired or resigned due to malfeasance or severe incompetence.

The Rio Games has not been a smooth development project for Brazil - it is now predicted that a cost overrun approaching three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollars is in the works yet nothing has been officially put on paper to prove that this number is accurate or not.

One could argue that the Olympic Games has a "track record" of going over budget and consistently plagued by construction delays. That history has proven that Olympic venues do meet their deadlines and the Games go on as usual, so why should Brazil be any different?

Well, Brazil is different for when tens-of-thousands of rioters take to the streets to protest the construction of the Olympic Game venues, that's not a disgruntled group of outsiders but rather a disgruntled population.

These riots, as stated in an USC Annenberg Business School blog, are due to this prominent theme: "...Brazilians don’t want first-world stadiums with third-world schools [and] third-world hospitals. ..." The blog post goes on to say they want this money spent on basic public infrastructure only. What drove the citizens to the streets was not just the Olympic Games but the Games were just the "final straw."

Next year Brazil will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup of Soccer and this endeavor continues to be an extraordinarily expensive event. Six-stadiums have been built but five-new-stadiums are behind schedule and time is running out at a cost of $3.6-billion dollars.

Even FIFA, the governing body of Soccer has openly stated that Rio may have been a wrong choice to hold a FIFA World Cup. This was stated after riots erupted in one of Rio de Janeiro's main tourist areas just days before a visit by the Pope last July.

Will Brazil be able to deliver a safe, polished, Olympic Games or will infrastructure issues, poverty issues and a disgruntled population brand the Olympics as a "traveling circus" that exploits the poor and enriches only the politicians, contractors and the IOC itself?

With the Brazilian poverty level at about 33%-of-the-population and water quality in the impoverished areas grossly contaminated by sewage, one must realize that the cost of one soccer stadium could have built a water reclamation plant that could have service millions instead of thousands of soccer fans for a few short weeks. This errant use of funds borders upon a human rights issue rather than a sporting one and that brings us to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Russia has passed an anti-homosexuality law that is so stringent in nature that any individual or visiting athlete that admits or mentions that they are gay or lesbian will be arrested. One Russian politician has gone as far to declare that gays should be barred from donating blood, donating organs and that their donated hearts and bodies should be burned instead of being buried in the ground.

Buoyed by such sanctioned hatred by the upper echelons of Russian politicians, teams of neo-nazi thugs have have been kidnapping, torturing and beating up gays for amusement and posting videos of their "work" on video network channels.

The IOC has responded with a declaration of support for the Russian law stating that: "...The Olympics aren’t the place for “proactive political or religious demonstration.” AS Slate Magazine points out - who knew that holding hands or telling someone you're gay if is considered a propaganda or a political demonstration?

Advertisers for the Sochi Games don't seem to care about these laws and have no intention of pulling out either for there is just too much money to be made.

McDonalds and Coca-Cola and going in large and Buzz Feed explains why:

From Buzz Feed
"... Both companies have also made bullish bets on Russia’s rapidly expanding consumer market. Coca-Cola is two years into doubling its investment in Russia through a five-year, $3 billion plan. McDonald’s announced plans in February to add 150 more restaurants across Russia in the next three years, an increase of about 50%. ..."


I was curious as to why Coca-Cola was getting a "Free-Gay-Pass" on this subject and I discovered that Coca-Cola received a perfect 100-percent score from a lobby group that advocates for gay and lesbian rights called the Human Rights Campaign. (The award was given out in 2008.) Amazing what money can buy. You can buy both sides of an issue and anger nobody all at the same time because thye have been paid not to care. Reminds me of an old quote by a California politician: "Every man can be bought... and if you can show me a man that can't be bought, well, he can be leased."

With all jokes aside, the IOC is still going to have to justify and address each blood stained $100-bill they accept as to why the impoverished Brazilians, and the disenfranchised Russian gays, Lesbians, and transgendered are secondary to profit, morals, and free speech for the next two Olympics in a row.

This is a blatant execution failure of their mission statement or to be more specific it violates their credo to: "To act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement."

But do they really care; I mean really?

In hindsight there were two nations that campaigned for the the 2014 and 2016 Games and both were much better suited to handle the infrastructure and moral responsibilities required to conduct an Olympic games. For the 2014 Games it was South Korea. For the 2016 Games it was Chicago. Both first world countries with the ability to host these events but petty politics within the IOC denied Chicago and poor planning denied South Korea.

The IOC has set themselves up for for two spectacular "fails" and they only have themselves to blame.

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