Just over a month out from the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games, Brazil’s already noticeable limp toward the starting gate is starting to resemble a crawl. The Rio Games, already beset with infrastructure problems, labor strife, economic decline, and full-fledged political upheaval, could use a win. Instead, Reuters reports, on Wednesday, parts of a human body washed up on shore at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Copacabana beach, nearby where the beach volleyball competition will be held in a month’s time.
The incident comes as the bottom is falling out of the Rio Games. The state of the city’s polluted waterways was already cause for alarm but seems almost quaint compared with the city’s larger problems. Zika is a potential health risk that has already scared off some athletes; the regional government is broke and the Brazilian economy is contracting. Oh, and the country’s president was impeached and removed from office six weeks ago. Less than two weeks ago, the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro requested almost $900 million in emergency funds to ensure that public services are able to be provided in the run up to the Games.
The budget shortfall has already taken its toll (via the Associated Press):
Just weeks ahead of the Olympic Games, police helicopters are grounded, patrol cars are parked and Rio de Janeiro’s security forces are so pressed for funds that some have to beg for donations of pens, cleaning supplies and even toilet paper, fueling worries about safety at the world’s premier sporting event.
“We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren’t taken, it can be a big failure,” the Rio de Janeiro state governor said in a worryingly frank assessment of the current state of play in the Olympic host city.