Rio troubles; Pistorius trial resumes

This morning, we start with two news articles about Rio. First, the IOC has grave concerns about the extraordinary delays Rio continues to experience in stumbling through its inadequate preparations for the Summer Olympics in 2016. Olympic officials compare Rio’s troubling delays to the struggles Athens 2004 suffered. Athen’s problems were notably worse than Rio’s thus far, as Athens drew a “yellow card” from the then-IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch as a warning. While Rio has yet to reach Athen’s levels, such a reprimand certainly exists within the realm of possibility…and soon. “In the past week alone, the head of Olympic planning for Rio’s municipal government resigned, more than 2000 construction workers went on strike, and Brazilian soldiers stormed a Rio slum in a bid to improve security before the World Cup.” Work has yet to begin on the Deodoro complex, which will serve as the second-largest “cluster of Olympic venues.” The golf course preparations remain behind schedule – at this rate, Rio will cancel its planned tournament to test the course. The crippling pollution problem casts doubt on whether the sailing venue will be ready to go. All these factors look like the ingredients for a massive catastrophe. At this rate, a warning may not be enough to put Rio back on schedule.

The second article highlights a conflict that occurred between the workers and the security guards that erupted into gunfire at Rio’s Olympic Park. No injuries were reported at the site of where the gunshots occurred, which is about 15 miles west of central Rio. The violence caused nearly 2,000 workers to stop working last Thursday, and it remains a mystery when the workers will resume. in addition, another set of laborers working on the site for the track and field venue of the Olympics went on strike yesterday. Workers are demanding better working conditions and benefits, in addition to other unmentioned disputes among labor unions. The IOC will have to step in soon if matters continue to worsen. However, the sole comment I have on this is the IOC president, Thomas Bach’s numerous urging statements that Rio “does not have a day to lose.” If this is true, and the president has knowledge that matters continue to worsen, then I think one of two things needs to happen: 1) Bach needs to step in and take control of the situation, or 2) stop repeating comments that they don’t have “a day to lose” because each day Bach lets them try to fix it is another lost day that cannot be retrieved. Moreover, the repeated comments dilute the urgency, especially if nothing is done to fix the problem.

On Friday, USATF released a statement based on the controversies of the US Indoor National Championships, as well as other issues involving its athletes. The statement says absolutely nothing; it simply reaffirms statements people already know, and offers no answer as to why its organization remains silent on its past evident mistakes. It takes no responsibility for its actions – rather, it puts the onus on TFAA and the Professional Athletes Association (PAA) to “vote for changes in the structures that affect them.” TFAA and PAA do not need any pushing from USATF to represent the athletes, as their high activity level speaks for itself. It’s a pathetic attempt to ease the mounting pressue upon it, and it presents a colossal failure to address a single problem or answer lingering questions people have over the past 40+ days. The statement, devoid of any real substance, will only push TFAA and PAA even more to bring the necessary justice for its athletes.

In continuing news, Oscar Pistorius’ trial resumed yesterday. The article discusses how he took the stand to testify, where part of that testimony described his childhood and the important role his mother played in his upbringing. There isn’t much for shock value here, but it’s worth glancing at just to see.

Finally, here’s some interesting news about how a remote-controlled helicopter collided into a triathlete during the Endure Batvia Triathlon in Geraldton, Western Australia. The hit caused a serious enough injury to send competitor Raija Ogden to the hospital, and required stitches.

 

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