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10 Controversies Surrounding the Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio De Janeiro

A disaster waiting to happen, or will everything be smooth for this year's Olympics?

10 Controversies Surrounding the Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio De Janeiro
This year's Olympics has not been making the best headlines.
Come August 5, more than 10,500 athletes are expected to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, competing for 28 different sports, with 3.6 billion audiences worldwide expected to tune into the games.

But behind this celebrated sporting event is an ugly side that has tarnished its name. It has disappointed many, and raised questions about the validity of the games, as well as the transparency of its governing body, the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Take a look back at all the controversies that have happened so far: 

1. The designers of the Rio Olympics logo were accused of plagiarism


When the logo was unveiled four years ago, people compared it to the Telluride Foundation logo, which also has figures linking their arms together in a flowing motion. The director of the agency that had created the logo dismissed the claim, insisting that the agency had done extensive research to guarantee the design was unlike any other. According to him, they had never seen the logo before.

2. A jaguar was killed during the Olympic torch ceremony


Back in June, a jaguar that was part of an Olympic torch relay event was shot and killed after escaping its handlers. The animal was shot with a tranquilliser dart, but had lunged at a soldier and was fatally shot as a form of defense. Ironic, considering that the mascot of the games this year is a jaguar. 

3. The athletes might end up in polluted water


Around 1,400 athletes will be sailing in the waters near Marina da Gloria in Gunara Bay, canoeing and rowing on Rodrigo de Freitas Lake and swimming in Copacabana beach. But they will be taking a risk. Last year, an investigation by Associated Press revealed that there were dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues. Athletes who had been training in Rio had already fallen ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhea at the time. 

4. Zika Virus is an ongoing threat


The virus, which comes from Aedes mosquito, is linked to birth defects (including death of brain tissue and physical deformities), as well as other serious illnesses such as temporary paralysis. Some VIP guests such as Kate Middleton and Prince Charles of England have opted to not attend the games because of it. Even the media isn't too keen to cover the event. BBC staff has also decided not to go to the games for fear of the disease. There are also athletes who have chosen to opt out of the games.

5. The infrastructure and venues were thought to not be able to be completed in time


Back when there were around 500 days before the start of the games, only 10% of 56 Olympic constructions, overlay and energy projects were finished. It was an extremely close call compared to what the 2012 London Olympics had to deal with (around that time almost 80% of infrastructure and venues were finished). Recently, there are fears that the new subway line, which is supposed to transport people to the main Olympic venues, including the Olympic Park and Olympic Village, would not be able to be completed in time.

6. The constructions have killed people


It was reported earlier in the year that 11 workers had died so far working on Olympic projects. Two people were also killed when a new cycle path collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean four months after it was opened.

7. Political unrest and corruption


A congressional committee was considering the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for allegedly violating budget laws to increase spending during her 2014 re-election campaign. She and the government also struggled with state-run oil company Petrobas, which has been caught in a massive corruption scandal that include price fixing, bribery and political kickbacks. To make matters worse, several construction companies responsible for the Olympic infrastructure have also been implicated in the scandal.

8. Doping

Image: Reuters

A report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revealed a system of covering up positive doping tests that extends to the highest levels of Russian sport and government. Thus far, the Russian track and field team as well as seven athletes from the rowing/swimming teams have been banned from participating. However, the IOC has agreed not to impose a blanket ban on the Russians despite the report. Instead, they are letting the respective sports federations to deal with the doping tests.

9. Is the Olympic Village even liveable?

Image: Reuters

As of July 25, 19 of the 31 buildings in the Olympic Village have still yet to pass safety tests. There have been reports going around about flooded floors, broken elevators, faulty plumbing, mould and holes in the ceiling as well as gas leak that have turned off athletes and the staff. The situation has been so dire that the Australian team refused to use the Olympic Village until the problems are fixed.

10. A New Zealand athlete was kidnapped

Jason Lee, a jiu jitsu athlete, was briefly kidnapped and forced to withdraw cash from ATMs by men dressed in police uniforms. In a post on his Facebook page, he claims that the men threatened to arrest him if he didn't meet their demands for a large sum of money. "This place is well and truly f**ked in every sense of the word imaginable."