Rio 2016 updates, changing history in Jamaica

Will Rio Finish On Time?

Much of today’s news focuses on the mounting problems in Rio, so we’ll start there. First, the IOC assurred critics of Rio’s crippling delays that it was “premature” to think about moving the Olympic Games from Rio to another site. 18 different sports federations raised “serious concerns” over Rio’s ability to deliver the Games on time. The pressure from international sport leaders has influenced IOC President Thomas Bach to begin taking measures to ensure that preparations complete in a timely manner. IOC Spokesman Mark Adams claimed that Rio could “still deliver good games if appropriate actions are taken.” Rio claims to have made progress since the IOC visited its country two weeks ago, but there are still significant concerns with the Deodoro complex, which is expected to hold eight Olympic events. Construction on the complex has yet to begin, which is way behind schedule. IOC vice president Craig Reedie compared the problems Athens faced up until the last minute in 2004, and he felt that Rio’s problems are much bigger than Athens…and Athens barely finished on time.

The next article highlights the special task forces the IOC has assembled to ensure that Rio completes its tasks before the Olympics begin. The first task force will begin on venue work, as the IOC pinpointed it as the project needing the most work. These task forces have already done the grunt work of determining  “the delays and the problems, and it is reassuring that from the Rio standpoint they have the same evaluations. We have special measures in place and task forces, and we will have the support at the highest levels of the organisations involved.” The task forces will begin work “very soon,” which I hope is not the Rio definition of soon, since Rio is gaining a reputation for procrastination. 

Despite criticism and doubt whether Rio will finish its preparations in time, Rio strongly believes they will “deliver a great Games.” Some individuals remain unconvinced. At a news conference in Belek, Turkey, “the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) accused Rio of not delivering on its promises.” Francesco Ricci Bitti, the head of ASOIF, expressed his displeasure in how the preparations have proceeded thus far. He said, “The general feeling is that we are in the most critical situation in the preparation for the Games that has happened in the last 20 years at least.” The problems continue to grow, as Rio officials already admitted that ” that some airports and public transportation projects will not be ready in time for the football tournament.” I imagine Bitti was a strong advocate in favor of moving the Games from Rio, as his doubt for Rio’s ability to deliver the Games is clear. As of now, we have only to go on Rio’s word that it will attend to its matters. But if Rio does not start showing some action and palpable results, it could risk losing the Games all together.

Jamaica’s Success Encourages Its Fleeing Athletes to Remain

There’s an interesting development in Jamaica, and it has to do with the US. immigration, fleeing athletes and the Penn Relays. In case you’re unaware, the Penn Relays is arguably the largest track and field meet in the world to feature all levels of athletes. People come from all over the world to watch the four-day event, which allows people from a wide age range to compete. Moreover, it features world-class athletes, and the famous 4×100: USA vs. The World. Usually, though, it’s a fierce competition between USA and Jamaica to determine bragging rights, as that rivalry has existed for the better part of 20 years.  A large part of that tradition involves Jamaican athletes traveling to the US to compete. However, these meets became problematic for the Jamaican high school athletes. Once they arrive, the high school athletes would go AWOL (away without leave) after their competitions, only to remain in the US illegally. These athletes leave in search of better lives. They grew weary of living an impoverished lifestyle, and so they seek out the US in the hope that it leads to a better life. Even if only one athlete left, the entire country bears the stigma, and it colors them in an often misleading stereotype.

Recently, professional track and field in Jamaica has improved. Young athletes recognize its progress, and it encourages them to remain in Jamaica. These athletes see an attainable and tangible dream in becoming a professional track and field athlete as a way to make a good living. The changing professional climate is not the only factor, though. Other factors include, but are not limited to “better organisation of hosting groups, particularly those working for or in tandem with the celebrated Penn Relays and the ever-changing US immigration laws, have also contributed to a decline in these incidents.” Relations between USA and Jamaica are also improving, but that’s still a work in progress. 

Turkey still faces doping problems within its Athletics regime. The International Association of Athletics Federations’ president Lamine Diack encouraged Turkey to follow suit with what the US did in the early 2000s: create an anti-doping agency.

in continuing news, Above The Law published an article about big NCAA university schools that threatened to cut its sports if its students begin unionizing. Leo Manzano signed a shoe contract with Hoka One One, and Lord Coe looks to head up the IAAF after Lamine Diack retires in 2015.

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