Let the Games Begin

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/05/12/477773770/instead-of-a-moment-in-the-sun-brazil-faces-a-perfect-storm

http://www.npr.org/2016/04/26/475696021/ahead-of-rio-games-olympic-historian-says-terror-attacks-are-a-concern

The Olympics are probably the oldest global event in human history. The idea of bringing so many of the world’s nations together in a show of peace and harmony is inspiring to all. The chance to host this amazing even is highly sought after by most countries. The nation that gets selected is usually thrilled to have the chance to play host to the world.

This year the summer games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Olympics committee award Brazil the Games in 2009. But Brazil’s outlook for the Games has changed a great deal since then. These articles wonder if this event will be Brazil’s moment to shine – or more like a perfect storm situation where everything goes wrong.

Back in 2009, Brazil’s economy was doing well and Brazilians were hoping to be accepted as a major world power. The award of the Olympic Games only seemed to reinforce this feeling.

Now, though, a recession has hit the country. Many Brazilians are out of work and cannot even afford buy tickets for the Olympics.  The government has always had problems with corruption, but the articles say that the people tend to ignore corruption in times of prosperity.

Recently, people have begun protesting the corrupt government and the president of the country is facing impeachment. Her trial may coincide with the Olympics Games!

In addition to this, the Zika virus has many worried about a pandemic as a result of the Games. This seems to be a good example of the World Risk Society concept that we have discussed in class. A single event can have a major impact on people around the globe in a myriad of ways that have never been possible before. Imagine people from around the world traveling to Brazil for the Games, contracting the virus and then bringing it home to spread it to their countries. It’s a scary thought. Or what if the athletes become ill while they are in Brazil and cannot compete?

Last, but certainly not least, there is the threat of terrorism. It would not be the first time that terrorism has impacted the Olympics. But with the recent terror attacks in Pairs and elsewhere, it seems more likely than ever that Isis would target a global event of such unique magnitude.

Some have suggested that it might be better to cancel the games. But cancelling the games will have its own repercussions. To deprive so many athletes of the chance to shine that they have been working toward for years and years – it would be heartbreaking.

What is the right thing to do, you may ask?

But that is exactly the point, in a World Risk Society, the right choice is never clear. There are so many interrelated factors in a given situation that it is impossible to know what the consequences of our actions might be.

The Olympics are shaping up to be a risky game of chance.

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