It seems like just yesterday that South African newspapers were headlining our country’s inefficiency in the build-up to the 2010 Football World Cup.
The country’s labour strikes, violent crime statistics and venue delays made for a daily media frenzy. And yet, despite all the naysaying, South Africa delivered a hiccup-free, memorable event. To this day people still talk about ‘that vibe’ and it fills South African hearts with pride.
Now it seems, Rio de Janeiro is under similar attack from the media as the city works towards hosting The Olympics in 2016. But could there be a little more to it than the traditional media hype?
Can the ubiquity of an event like The Olympics help a city under siege from gang violence and drug abuse?
A recent spate of violent crimes within miles of one of The Olympic arenas has raised some serious security concerns. There are reports that in recent weeks, at least two foreign tourists have been stabbed, and another couple robbed at gunpoint.
Rio’s State Secretary for Security, Jose Mariano Beltrame, described these crimes as “unacceptable”.
The Brazilian government has vowed to respond to these concerns and plans to splash the cash to ensure a heavier security presence in the city. Cue an Israeli security detail and a 60, 000-strong security force. Fair play Brazilian government. Fair play.
We’re pretty sure that somewhere in the city, perhaps in an underground bunker somewhere, those responsible for the Games’ security will be watching every street from the safety and comfort of a billion-dollar security control room.
Whatever the current state of affairs are surrounding the build-up to The Rio Olympics, athletics enthusiasts everywhere remain optimistic that billions of Dollars and a bit of TLC, can sort it out in time.
To the citizens of Rio, expect an influx of security officers on bicycles and horses in the coming months, as the organisers work towards a safer city.