Rio is not the place to hold the Olympics

Harrison Witt, Sports Columnist

Zika virus, political turmoil, polluted waters and a rough economic state.

Does this sound like a place to hold the largest sporting event in the world?

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, home of the 2016 Olympics, was exactly that. Brazil is well known for its natural beauty, however, that does not give it the credentials to hold the Olympics

There is no question that this Olympics was not good for the athletes nor the people living in Rio. By competing in Rio athletes have pushed thousands of people out of their homes as well as  subjecting themselves to the infamous Zika virus.

Zika, most commonly found in South America, is transferred through mosquitoes and causes flu like symptoms as well as spreading from a pregnant woman to her child. If contracted while pregnant, the zika virus can cause life threatening birth defects. By travelling to Rio, Olympic athletes put themselves and their fans at risk of getting the virus.

Some athletes such as Jason Day and Russell Westbrook chose to stay home.  This would seem like a rash decision if Zika were the only risk in Rio. Unfortunately, it does not stop there.

Water is one of the most commonly used resources in the Olympics. Rio certainly has enough water for the swimmers, rowers and sailors to compete in.  However, is that water clean? Not even close.

According to the Huffington Post, aquatic athletes are being exposed to water that is contaminated with viruses caused by human sewage. That does not seem like the right place to make 1,400 athletes compete. The US rowers had to practice in special suits. The Australian swim coach prohibited his team from swimming.   I can’t blame that coach because I would not want to endanger my athletes with viruses either.  If dangers in your city are holding a team back from practicing, it does not seem like the right place to hold the actual event.

Rio is obviously not the safest place for the athletes, but what about the people living in the city?  They will benefit from this, right? Wrong.  The people of Rio are going through a shift in government after their president was just impeached.  She falsely claimed she would turn around the economy.  The economy she claimed she would fix is not in a great place.  The Olympics cost Brazil about 20 billion dollars.  The amount they are getting back: 2 billion dollars according to ABC News.  That is not good for a country in need of some bucks.

These problems could have been stopped.  The 2016 Olympics could have been held in a far better place.  The other choices were Madrid, Tokyo, and our beautiful city of Chicago.  All these cities are in far better situations politically, financially and healthwise than Rio.  Of course the International Olympic Committee did not likely see these problems coming, but hopefully in 2020 there will not be mosquitoes in Tokyo.