Punch­ing Num­bers

Augustman - - Prelude -

THIS MONTH BRINGS THE SUM­MER OLYMPICS and mil­lions of peo­ple will flood into Rio to catch the live sports ac­tion from the best of ev­ery coun­try, com­pet­ing for the high­est recog­ni­tion in the sport­ing world. Rio has in­vested no less than USD11.6 bil­lion to make the event hap­pen. It has ame­lio­rated slums, cleaned up the mess cre­ated by drug lords wag­ing turf wars across its cities, built new sports and tourism fa­cil­i­ties. Yet there is much to be de­sired. The world’s top ath­letes will be com­pet­ing in less than ideal en­vi­ron­ments, and against a loom­ing threat of Zika and Su­per Bac­te­ria and the blem­ish of petty crime. The real ques­tion is, will Rio ben­e­fit in the long run from the hefty un­der­tak­ing? Al­ready the gov­ern­ment is doubt­ing its abil­ity to pay to main­tain or­der af­ter the event. The Olympics may at­tract the world’s at­ten­tion, but what hap­pens when the show is over? Will Rio’s ef­forts count and spell the be­gin­ning of progress? Or will the coun­try be over­whelmed by its old prob­lems once more?

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