TopOfTheCircle.com

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July 25, 2016 — Sport, priorities, and what can go dreadfully wrong

The Rio Olympics organizers have been raked over the coals the last few days because of the lack of readiness of projects which had clear deadlines in preparation for the Olympics, now fewer than two weeks away.

Roads are unfinished, including a major East-West highway connecting venue clusters. The waters where rowing, open-water swimming, and sailing are to take place are poisonous and dangerous to competitors. And Australia has refused to move into the Olympic Village because of problems with electricity and plumbing.

There have been pre-Olympic predictions of disasters before because of problem with transportation and with venues. But Rio and Sochi — previous hosts of the 2014 Winter Olympics — are on a level all their own.

Olympics and World Cups often oblige municipal, regional, and national governments to build extraordinary lavish facilities which will often be used for a limited period of time. It’s an Olympic (or World Cup) legacy which is not often examined by our myopic sports media.

For every good legacy (a 1994 World Cup which brought into existence Major League Soccer), there are several bad ones, such as Greece, whose white elephants stand as testament to their economic woes.

China is looking to make major repurposing of its 2008 event sites for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but today had to have been embarrassed when an International Champions Cup soccer game, originally scheduled for the Bird’s Nest (the Olympic track and field venue) had to be called off because of unplayable grounds, something which had been plaguing the venue the last month.

It may be easy for one writer on one blog to aim darts at other countries when it comes to how they administer sports. But you also have to wonder about how a professional women’s soccer team can’t even get its secondary home pitch correct in terms of size, it does make you wonder if the United States isn’t immune to management troubles.

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