RIO GAMES MOST EXPENSIVE EVER
What we think we know for sure about the Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, currently under way and filling our newspapers, television sets, computer screens, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts until Aug. 21.
— This will reportedly be the most expensive Olympics ever, with figures rumoured to be as high as $11 billion in a country whose poverty level is said to be above normal for a middle-income country, where crime is said to be out of control, and whose water quality is, to be generous, questionable.
— The television network given the job of bringing the pictures and stories to North America, NBC, will not likely show us any of the unsightly underbelly of Brazil.
— Dozens of the world’s best athletes made a public display about staying home from Rio because of a threat of coming down with the Zika virus, a mosquito-spread scourge that will be at its lowest threat in August, according to health experts.
— American swimmer Michael Phelps probably won’t be the star of the Games this year, because he’s, like, 74 years old or something like that, but he’ll get a disproportionate amount of air time because he’s won more gold medals, 18, than anyone in the history of the Games. — If you watch the Games at all, you’ll likely see Usain Bolt of Jamaica. Probably in a blur.
— CBC’s coverage will focus mainly on Canadian athletes, and network estimates are that Canada will win between 15 and 20 medals, with three or four of them of the gold variety. Divers are reportedly Canada’s best hopes, sprinter Andre De Grasse is a world-class athlete and with the world’s four best male golfers staying home for Zika reasons, Canada’s duo of Graham DeLaet and David Hearn could medal, as could the women golfers, world No. 2 Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp.
— Every time a Russian athlete wins a medal, eyebrows will be raised. Here’s a prediction: At least one Russian medal winner will have that silverware taken away within 12 months of the Games’ closing.
— Canadian athletes will have Mom and Dad in Rio to watch, perhaps even Grandma and Grandpa, because the Olympics are a once-in-a-lifetime deal for most athletes. But did you know Mom and Dad’s rental accommodation for a week in Rio might be as high as $26,000? (An Alberta athlete’s folks confirmed that figure.)
— Pele will show up in some form during the opening ceremonies, because he is Brazil’s most famous athlete.
— Despite all the trepidation and worry, the Games will be deemed a success. Brazil might still be paying for them in 2050, but by then, the world won’t care. In fact the world will quit caring on Aug. 21, shortly after the closing ceremonies.
• Norman Chad of the Washington Post, telling St. Louis fans they’re lucky the Rams moved to L.A.: “Without a local NFL team, you actually get a better selection of NFL games every Sunday. You no longer are spiritually bound to watch a 7-9 team’s annual march to mediocrity.”
• Hit king Pete Rose, to the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle, on baseball salaries: “When we played, we counted our money. Today, they weigh it.”
• Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, after Julia Webb set a world record for running a half-marathon while pushing her 9-month-old daughter in a stroller. “She later thanked the person who made it all possible: her babysitter who didn’t show up.”
• Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Drug dealers in Rio are selling cocaine in Olympic packaging, Huff-Post Brasil reported. Don’t know about faster or stronger, but they’ve got higher covered.”
• Another one from Chad: “Just moved into my Olympic Village apartment in Rio de Janeiro. When I flush the toilet, the TV turns on to Fox News Channel.”
• Dickson again: “A week before the 2016 Summer Olympic Games begin the athletes village reported has gas leaks, small fires, floods and electrical problems. Maybe we can move the Olympics to a better location. I understand Three Mile Island is available.”
• RJ Currie of sportsdeke. com: “TSN’s CFL analyst Matt Dunnigan said something is missing from the Blue Bombers offence. Quick! Call LaPolice.”
• Currie again: “Struggling Canadian golfer Graham DeLaet said he recently shaved off his beard to get closer to his kids. Some think he did it to finally make a cut.”
• Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe. com: “The Patriots’ Julian Edelman is facing a paternity suit from a Swedish model who says she is 5 1/2 months pregnant with his baby. Once again a lesson for athletes, always wear ALL your equipment.”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “The Olympic athletes will not be able to get Pokemon Go in the Rio Olympic Village. ‘Gosh, how will we entertain ourselves with 10,000 of the hottest and fittest athletes in the world partying in one place?’ Asked nobody.”
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