The Olympic Games are the biggest collection of sporting competitions in the world. Occurring every two years, a multitude of countries compete for medals in a variety of sporting competitions ranging from track and field to basketball. This year, Brazil will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics which has raised a lot of debate considering Brazil’s current economic, health, and political situations.
Brazil’s economy has decreased within the past few years, shrinking 3.8 percent last year and an expected 3.5 percent this year. Dealing with a weak currency and a bribery scandal involving the oil company Petrobras, Brazil is in its greatest recession in 100 years, with unemployment rising and consumer spending falling. Because of this, the world has questioned whether Brazil is the appropriate location to hold the largest sporting competition in the world.
Along with Brazil’s economic issues, the current health situation with the Zika virus in Brazil has raised fear for the many athletes from numerous countries who will compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics. The Zika virus is a mosquito-driven virus that causes severe birth defects in the infants of the infected. Recently, the virus, which was primarily based in Africa, was discovered in Brazil, meaning anyone in Brazil is at risk of becoming ill. Although experts have said that there will be a low risk of getting the Zika virus in Rio de Janeiro, the issue is still worrisome for the many athletes coming to Rio.
In addition to the economic and health crises in the country, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff was impeached after a majority of the Senate voted in favor of impeachment. Charged with misusing federal funds in order to obscure the size of Brazil’s deficit, Rousseff’s presidency has been suspended. President Rousseff said that she would favor new elections to help Brazil emerge from a political crisis, albeit with the major caveat that she first wants to return to office.
With all of the different issues currently of concern in Brazil, the hope is that the 2016 Summer Olympics will benefit the struggling nation and potentially end its devastating recession. Unfortunately, experts are predicting that while the Olympics will help Rio’s infrastructure, it will not end Brazil’s recession. Although the Olympics will not completely save Brazil, the world is hoping it will give Brazil the jumpstart it needs to return to the successful state it once held as one of the so-called powerful BRIC countries.