While the Olympics in Rio is a whole web of deep-rooted social, political and economic problems, it is not all doom and gloom: the Brazilian spirit is high, bringing celebrations and a sense of patriotism to the city. The Olympics have also been a vehicle to bring new art to Rio de Janeiro, inspiring many to get involved.
From parties to protests, gold medals to strikes, in the following photos we explore both the positive and negative aspects of the Olympic Games in Rio.
Based in the city centre, the Olympic Boulevard is home to the Olympic flame as well as various street parties, big screens to show the games, and also a display of artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ project where visitors in Rio can take their photo and leave it there as part of the exhibition.
The huge sporting event has also provided a mouthpiece to protestors that don’t want Brazilian president Michel Temer to be in the government, citing corruption and poor political policies as the principle reasons for their dissatisfaction. Despite attempts by the police to silence protestors, the Fora Temer (Get Out, Temer) theme still continues. And it’s not just the locals participating – it’s the foreign athletes, too.
Signs of the Olympics are all over the city, and despite concerns of polluted water, athletes are still training and competing without problems.
The Brazilian athletes have been doing well – something of that has generated immense national pride. In particular is Rafaela Silva, who won the gold medal for Brazil in judo. For many people in Brazil, this is more than just an Olympic victory; Silva grew up in one of Rio’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods and has become an inspiration to others residing in Rio’s many favelas, proving that they can achieve something spectacular and previously seen as unattainable for someone in those circumstances.
In preparation for the games, the city council created the BRT (Rapid Bus Transport) that allows visitors and locals to get to key sporting areas quickly and efficiently. For those wanting to move between venues, it is a fantastic option to avoid traffic and hold-ups, since the BRT occupies its own lane. Unfortunately, on some large main roads, the BRT lane was already in place but has been closed by the council instead of making a new one. This has led to an increase in congestion, as roads with a BRT lane now face twice the amount of traffic, plus extra from tourists, in just two lanes.
The BRT suffers unbearable overcrowding with no official limitations on how many people can enter the train, as well as huge queues at the main BRT terminal.
Despite the downsides, parties and celebrations have been going on throughout the city – none quite as magnificent as the sensational opening ceremony at Maracana stadium.
There is no denying that Rio de Janeiro is the perfect host for the Olympics with its stunning backdrops and warm, friendly people. The Brazilian spirit is vibrant, alive and proud – as it should be, with Rio de Janeiro pulling off these games spectacularly so far.