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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Rio -- Demystifying the Olympic Games

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Classical Greek thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates believed and practiced the concept of mens sana in corpora sano. Consequently, they followed a regimen of both mental and physical training. These famed philosophers, regularly attended a 'gymnasium' and supported and attended the Olympic Games.

The competitions originally included just a 100 meters race, javelin and disc throws but after 13 Olympiads two more races joined the stade as Olympic events: the diaulos (roughly equal to today's 400-meter race), and the dolichos (1,500-meter or 5,000-meter event). The pentathlon (a foot race, a long jump, discus and javelin throws and a wrestling match) was introduced in 708 B.C., boxing in 688 B.C. and chariot racing in 680 B.C. In 648 B.C., pankration, a combination of boxing and wrestling debuted as an Olympic event. Founded by Hercules, Olympic Games were not only revered and followed but dedicated to Zeus, the God of Gods.

By 393 A.D. Roman Emperor Theodosius brought the competitions to an end when he evicted pagan traditions from Rome, recently converted into Christianity.

When Baron Pierre de Coubertin relaunched the Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens, the competition was surrounded by allure and great expectations as to their role in enhancing understanding among nations. And to a certain degree they delivered at least until the end of the past century when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) entered the world of broadcasting rights for diverse distribution platforms and real estate developers managed to convince emerging market leaders that the hosting exercise could be a launching board to development.

Broadcasting rights represent such an important stream of revenue for the IOC that the games are subject to all kinds of procedural pressures so that they comply with the reality show approach to everything reigning supreme in world television.

Developers, on their part depicted the hosting of Olympiads as the sure path to enter first world status.

Given that broadcasting rights have made winning athletes instant super stars who can enter the world of seven figure salaries, they create incentives to doping.

With the privilege of hosting however comes responsibilities. Investments in facilities for the games is expensive and needs to be in place in a short time frame thereby eliminating any possibility of saving on inputs, work force, designs or equipment.

Given that most developing nations have yet to install rule of law in their territories, corruption runs rife while ordinary citizens suffer revenue reassignment away from health care and education and into sports facilities construction.

In the end, income streams attributable to tourist inflows into the host country are much lower than the debt incurred to develop facilities.

Even worse is the negative impact on the population resulting from neglect of fundamental public services in favor of building what after the Olympic Games becomes a ghost town.

Also expensive, slapdash construction projects like arenas and pavilions give rise to human-rights abuse. Doha, host to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has come under intense international criticism for reported human-rights violations committed in the rapid build-up, as hundreds of guest workers have died constructing the World Cup stadium in Qatar.

In another instance, Azerbaijan hosted the 2015 European Games and the government used opposition to the games as a excuse to crack down on all opposition and independent journalists.

But all these drawbacks have not stained the image of the Olympic Games as a promoter of economic development and political understanding.

This magnetism however is about to come to an end in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio will not only host the Olympiads in the middle of economic and political turmoil but also on the tails of the outburst of a frightening disease: The Zika Virus.

Reports have it that facilities are not and will most probably not be ready for occupancy.

Costs have skyrocketed out of control reaching 2000% in the case of transportation to 800% in the case of the Olympic Village.

With the accessibility to information that prevails in our world and the myriad distribution platforms so far, the Rio encounter has been portrayed as a disaster.

And while the presence of athletes from all over the world competing in all kinds of sports will fill the city with joy, when the farewell ceremony takes place, Brazilians will be left with hefty debts and political upheaval springing form the people's discontent with the divertion of scarce resources to fund a party for foreigners.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.



Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: On Dialogue and the Rules of Geopolitics in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Ides of Wisdom in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Populism

Beatrice Rangel: Three Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Trump, Lula, Kirchner and the Last Tupi-Guaranis

Beatrice Rangel: Time for Departures in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: A Contrarian View on the Panama Papers

Beatrice Rangel: Brazil's Lady in Her Labyrinth

Beatrice Rangel: Back to a Divided Home!!!

Beatrice Rangel: A Historical Take-Off in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: A Skipped Journey, a Reaffirmation and a Clearing of Path in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Demise of Civility in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon

Beatrice Rangel: The Pope's Difficult Stopover in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Farewell to The “Diplomacy of Reason”

Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes

Beatrice Rangel: On Health Alerts and the Long Arm of Justice in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: When Crime Meets Glory

Beatrice Rangel: Playing Hansel and Gretel in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Good News/Bad News Starts The Monkey Leap Year

Beatrice Rangel: The Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities

Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?

Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion

Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear

Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor

Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis

Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters

Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus

Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash

Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air

Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace


 

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