Bob Costas, the well-known sportscaster, spoke regarding the Rio Olympics that have been marred by local issues that have become international and international issues that have had local effects.
Brazil has been in the news, especially as the games have approached, regarding the Zika epidemic which has resulted in a number of athletes withdrawing from participating. The concerns regarding Zika have further been fueled by the much publicized breakout in Miami, Florida with local mosquitos.
Then, there is the Russian doping scandal that has been dominating news of the Olympics this spring and summer as the claims of a Russian whistleblower have been confirmed by Olympic officials resulting in unprecedented sanctions against Russian athletes with the Russians — right up to Vladimir Putin — crying foul and others claiming the sanctions do not go far enough.
And most recently, there is news of the highly polluted water in Brazil, including contamination with human feces. This has prompted experts warning athletes of potential hazards.
Bob Costas spoke on the issues at the Television Critics Association summer press tour,
“There are serious issues and that will be a story at the end of this if [Rio] can surmount those issues and pull off a successful games . . . It’s going to be impossible not to address some of the issues because they will directly intersect with the competition.”
Costas acknowledged the Zika epidemic will be hard to avoid, and also made specific mention of the water conditions for various water-based sports and events.
“Costas also said he interviewed the mayor of the Brazilian city hosting the games and that the politician was very candid about the issues facing the summer games. ‘He’s straightforward in acknowledging that these problems exist,’ he said.
Costas also said the Rio mayor ‘never expected the Olympics to solve hundreds of years worth of social problems,’ such as concerns over gang activity and sanitation. He also stated several times that concerns over preparedness going into Olympic events is nothing new.
Issues, large and small, continue to arise regarding the Rio Olympics. It will only be clear after the games how important some really are.