Young Brazilians are even less excited about Rio 2016 than we are

‘I don’t think the games will show Brazil to the world in a positive way’


You’d think it would all be about the  sun, the sea and the sport. Yet if you’ve been following the news recently, you’re more likely to hear about venues falling down, sewage polluted water and the mayor of Rio mocking the Australian team’s concerns about the Olympic village by saying he would, “Put a kangaroo there” to make them feel at home.

That’s not to mention the Zika virus, the million unsold tickets, athletes being mugged at gun point, the small fact that the President is suspended and on trial and those widely circulated photos of a body floating in the Olympic sailing bay. There’s even been riots over the cost of the Olympics when the country could spend the money better and clashes between drug gangs – all of which the Olympic torch procession had to avoid.

Hearing these things, it’s easy to conclude that there’s no hope for Rio 2016 and everyone should just pack up and call it all off. Instead, we rounded up some young people in Brazil, to see if things are really as bad as the news would have you think.

Luan, 22, Rio de Janeiro

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People are a bit scared of how things are going to work during the Olympics games. Yesterday I went to the supermarket and heard people in the supermarket talking about Isis. It was crazy because I didn’t even know people knew about them.

I didn’t want the Olympics from the beginning.  I knew there would be too much corruption and it wouldn’t be nice for people around here. I knew that when the games came everything would be very focused on them and we would forget about many of the things we need to deal with right now like security and corruption.

I don’t think the games will show Brazil to the world in a positive way. Have you heard about the Australian team? They’ve refused to move into the accommodation. And not only them. The Americans and the Ukrainians are complaining too. I think it is going to be very shameful.

I live in Botafogo which is in the South zone of Rio. The games will happen in  the East zone. In the last few days there have been many soldiers in the street, trying to improve security. I think they are just decreasing the security of the population here though. The police and army in Brazil are not very reliable. There is a hierarchy in the police and the army. They think they’re better than civilians and they’re always using their titles to do things they shouldn’t.

I’m not scared about a terrorist attack like other people. I think it’s insane to think something like that would happen. What can happen is that a Brazilian tries something against the country.  Protesters have extinguished the Olympic torch and I think people are mad at the government. There is a new president, but this one is worse than the last one.

Ana, 23, Brasilia

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I live in Brasilia. Although we are not as affected by the Olympics as those in Rio, there is a general dissatisfaction amongst everyone in Brazil. I think the timing is really bad and I am not excited at all about the Olympics.

We now know that the preparation for the event involved big corruption schemes. Brazilians are naturally more excited about the world cup because football is such a big part of our culture. There were many people unhappy about the World Cup back in 2014, but now the situation is even more fragile.I feel deceived and I feel there are so many other priorities to invest in.

I think the money spent will not be worth it, especially considering that part of that money financed corrupt schemes. I think this kind of event can be very positive, and if it happened in a different context it would be well received. Right now I don’t feel like it was worth it. Of course I still hope our Athletes do well.

I don’t think there is a lot of trust right now in our country. I think tourists will have a good time here though. It is a great country to visit and the true consequences of the Olympics will only be suffered by us Brazilians.

Marina, 22, Porto Alegre 

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I live in Porto Alegre, the capital city of the southernmost state of Brazil. Here we’re not feeling the same vibe as we were feeling in the World Cup. I really think that there are more important things to worry about here in Brazil.The money being spent on the Olympics, isn’t worth it but I still think we should do our best to pull off the games in the very best way.

Brazilians are usually pessimist about everything that happens here, but I’m positive about the Olympics. I think whether the Olympics will show Brazil in a good light depends on the media – which side of Brazil they will prefer to show. The media controls even what Brazilians think about Brazil and it is not good things at present.

I am excited for the men and women’s football, rhythmic gymnastics and athletics because I will be there to watch the finals! However, Brazilian teams don’t have the best history in the Olympics…

Thalita, 21, Rio de Janeiro

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The atmosphere is different to when Brazil held the Olympics. I think people were more excited for the world cup because it was taking place all across the country so everyone felt involved, whereas now it’s only Rio.

A lot of people are happy about the games but a lot of people are also angry about them. People are angry because the games are made for the tourists, not the people of Rio. For example things are a lot expensive now for the people of Rio, such as the other day I went to the beach and all the food is expensive now there because it’s for the tourists.   Also now there are soldiers surrounding some of the favelas and I can’t imagine it’s a nice way to live for the people who live there, surrounded by guns all the time.

Many people got jobs because of the games which is good. But as I said the games are focused on tourists not people who live in Rio. The tickets are really expensive, now they’re about R$200. There were some last year that were cheaper, but now they’re expensive.

I think the games will show Brazil badly because of the time in Politics. I think the world will see all the mess that we’re in right now. I wasn’t in favour of the games when they were announced in 2009 because of the government in Rio. I knew there would be bribery and the buildings wouldn’t be ready in time.

I think Brazil have good chances in the Olympics this year. It’s not just the soccer we have been performing good in, other things too like Volleyball and Gymnastics. I think the team’s performance could be one good thing to come out of the games.

Igor, 23, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia 

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At the moment I’m in Rio. I should be back in Brasilia where I live right after the start of the Olympic Games. In Brasilia the vibe is pretty much the same as before the games. I don’t see anyone talking with excitement about the games there, even though there will be a few events in Brasilia. There is the usual talk about all that’s going wrong in Rio though.

I think it’s a bit of an embarrassment for the rest of the world to see our country in such a poor condition. Although lack of organisation and respect on the part of the government, is something well known to us Brazilians, to have it affecting our guests is even more shameful. Just recall the incident with the Mayor of Rio and the Australians.

I don’t think the money spent on the Olympics was worth it. Maybe at the time Rio was chosen to host the games the situation of the country was good enough to bring about such an event, but not now. Earlier this year Rio ran out of money and wasn’t able to pay for medicines and hospital supplies.

I think Brazil’s chances in the games are better than usual. There was a lot of investment on the athletes these past four years because of the games being held here. With football I believe the new coach Tite will improve the team but I don’t think there will be gold. I’m most excited to go watch a close friend of mine Bernardo Oliveira who is competing in Archery.

Luiz, 24, Santos

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Until yesterday I didn’t even know what was the date of the Opening Ceremony was so I couldn’t say I’m the most excited. I haven’t met a lot of Brazilians who are excited about the Games.

I’m really hoping these Games can bring money to our broken country, and that we don’t have too much crime in Rio during the Olympics. I’m in Santos, about 9 hours from Rio by bus. We have several Olympic delegations hosted here in our city, so the atmosphere is very interesting. You go out and you see people from all over the world visiting museums, at the beach, shopping – it is really fun.

The government says the gyms and the Olympic village will be converted to benefit the population. You have probably heard about our reputation in corruption. I believe these investments cost a lot more than what will come back to the population as benefits.  Looking back at the World Cup that just took place in here, all of the buildings are abandoned now. The TV news says that the Olympic buildings were overpriced and that something that should cost 500k actually cost 3 million, you know?

The negative comments in the media around the world are true, but it will be just like the World Cup – everyone saying bad things until the opening. During the games everyone will be watching happily. And after, nothing will be said anymore. There are problems at every Olympics and Brazil won’t be the first perfect one.

I think Brazil athletes are really great, so Brazil’s chances in my opinion are good. I really hope we don’t have that kind of problem [performance in the Olympics] because we’re talking about Brazil, we’re already screwed up and everyone is expecting bad stuff happening. We need at least a good event.