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Amelia is a medical student at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University. She is committed to disseminating science, health, and medical information to a diverse audience.

This Is How Rio Will Collapse During the Summer Olympics

This Is How Rio Will Collapse During the Summer Olympics

Poor Rio. Everywhere the Brazilians look, disaster is racing toward them just as they welcome the world for the Olympic Games.

We’re still a long way from the “worst ever” Olympics, but there’s been an unending storm of sickness, riots, violence, political uncertainty, environmental contamination, and financial misfortune.

The city’s pride and joy—the beach at Copacabana—even joined the melee as one of the Olympic broadcast centers was flooded by a rare ocean swell and 15-foot waves.

The Olympic torches themselves were extinguished, and to top it all: A jaguar became the symbolic mascot of the Games when it was shot dead by the army after escaping from a torch ceremony.

That’s all before you get to the sport itself. Dozens of Russian athletes have been banned due to a state-wide doping scandal, a response Putin deemed “discrimination” and claimed was part of a Western conspiracy to “embarrass” Russia.

On Friday, a small fire erupted in the Olympic Village, and Australian athletes are reporting they were robbed during the evacuation.

It seems Rio has been doomed since the beginning.

Preparations for the Olympics began after Rio wrapped up the 2014 FIFA World Cup, an event that cost the country 15 billion dollars and returned less than 7 percent in revenue. Yat Boechat, a journalist at Brazil’s top magazine, Revista Istoe, told The Daily Beast back in 2014 that money for these events is spent on things Brazilians don’t need. “The government removed hundreds of thousands of poor people from their houses to make space for stadiums, roads to lead to them, and other construction projects,” said Boechat.

Sounds a lot like what people are saying about the 2016 Olympic Games.

Benjamin Best, documentary filmmaker and director of Dirty Games, told The Daily Beast, that the cost of “mega events,” like the Olympics, is not just financial—the production of this massive “money-making circus” involves countless human-rights violations and disregard for local communities and environments.

“If you look at the human-rights violations… it feels like human life or human interests are not really taken seriously by organizers, by federations, by politicians,” Best told The Daily Beast in June.

The sentiment that citizens’ health, livelihoods, and lives are secondary to a successful Games is not just in their heads.

In Vila Autódromo, a city situated on the outskirts of the Olympic Park, rubber bullets and batons were used to force nearly 600 families—many of whom had been living in the area for generations—to evacuate and make way for the Olympics.

In April, days before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was due to visit key sites for the Games and urge preparation sites to increase their pace, 2,500 Brazilian laborers voted to extend their strike indefinitely, defying a court order that demanded they return to work. The work stoppage was aimed at obtaining increased compensation and improved working conditions and poses a direct threat to one of the most important sites, one that will host dozens of events. In addition to forced evacuations, there is growing political turmoil in Brazil, possibly amounting to a “soft coup.”

Beyond the police killings, civil disobedience, and human-rights violations, there are countless health risks, not the least of which is the spread of Zika among athletes, attendees, and locals.

Many world-class athletes have already pulled out of the Games, largely due to health concerns.

The sentiment that citizens’ health, livelihoods, and lives are secondary to a successful Games is not just in their heads.

British long jumper Greg Rutherford made headlines when his wife publicized the decision to freeze Rutherford’s sperm prior to the Olympic Games and stay home with her son as a precautionary measure to avoid Zika contamination. “We’d love to have more children,” Rutherford’s wife told reporters, “and with research in its infancy, I wouldn’t want to put myself in a situation which could have been prevented... Specialists still also don’t know the ins and outs of Zika.”

In addition to the still unknown risks of the Zika virus, there have been various accounts of severed body parts washing up on nearby beaches and toxic water polluted with human waste that Olympians are expected to compete in. According to a report commissioned by the Associated Press, “swimmers need to ingest only three teaspoons of water to be almost certain of contracting a virus.”

Reports of gas leaks, substandard plumbing, and exposed wiring led some delegations to refuse to move in, including the Australian team, which reportedly checked into a hotel instead. Mario Andrada, an Olympic organizing committee spokesman, told The Wall Street Journal that many of the units failed testing: “We had to move in a lot of furniture, so we were not totally focused on the stress tests as we should have been.” As of July 26, fewer than half of the buildings in the Olympic Village had passed safety inspections.

Despite recommendations beginning over two months ago by top scientists to relocate or postpone the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio due to Zika, along with doomsday-like omens– pieces of corpses washing up on shores of beaches, police killings and riots, and gas leaks and non-functional toilets in the Olympic Village—it seems the show must go on.

But at what cost?

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