With the 2016 Summer Olympics slated to begin in less than a month, Fox Sports senior writer Dieter Kurtenbach has a simple message for the International Olympic Committee (IOC): Move the Games out of Rio.
Zika is a huge problem in Brazil right now. Unfortunately, it’s almost an afterthought given the amount of civil unrest plaguing the country, from government scandal to economic collapse to savage lawlessness.
If you go to Brazil for the Olympics, don’t plan on moving around a whole lot.
“I would not go around the city of Rio – not unless you have an extreme security detail and an armored car,” Kurtenbach said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Talking to people, that’s the kind of state that things are in. Hospitals are getting raided by men with guns right now. There is no medicine. The favelas are on fire. I would not venture outside of what will be a heavily militarized Olympic Village and the surrounding areas around the Olympic venues.”
The opening ceremony, as of now, will be held in the heart of Rio at Maracana Stadium on August 5. Athletes and visitors will attend at their own peril.
“I honestly don’t think anyone will have a problem if you stay inside the official zone,” Kurtenbach said. “The world has no interest in getting anybody hurt, and the IOC and the Brazilian government – and I’m sure the United States will chip in here – will make sure that the Olympics go off without a hitch. But outside of the parameters of the Olympics and inside of the city of Rio, it’s not a good environment to just be wandering around. Too many bad things can happen.”
Brazil successfully hosted the World Cup in 2014. That was then. This is now.
“The people of Brazil are fantastic and very positive people,” Kurtenbach said, “but there’s a lot of negative stuff happening out there that’s overshadowing that by a long shot. It’s a really dangerous place to be right now.”