Members of a local rowing club practice among floating dead fish at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon that will host rowing and canoeing events during Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Yasuyishi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

#1YearToGo and Brazil Launches Corruption Probe in Olympics Scandal

Members of a local rowing club practice among floating dead fish at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon that will host rowing and canoeing events during Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Yasuyishi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of a local rowing club practice among floating dead fish at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon that will host rowing and canoeing events during Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Yasuyishi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

One of our readers sent in a couple of news tip about how the Brazilian Government is launching a massive investigation into the corruption associated with the 2016 Olympic Games.

Here are a couple of highlights from the main article that caught my attention

  • Rio’s city government is at times being forced to act like a bank, lending companies money to prevent a slowdown in construction
  • OAS, one of Brazil’s biggest construction firms, filed for bankruptcy protection in March after its credit lines dried up. OAS is part of the group that is behind the very much delayed Deodoro Sports Complex.
  • Mendes Junior SA backed out of a contract to fix the drainage around the Maracana soccer stadium set to host Olympic matches.
  • Rio has admitted it will fail to make good on promises it made in its Olympics bid to improve the sewage system and reduce water pollution in the Guanabara bay by 80 percent.

Forgive me, but the fact that the Rio government is bailing out construction companies is quite concerning. Moreover, it appears the Government too itself is at fault for not paying these construction companies in time so they can complete payroll and pay operational costs. Combine that with the recent discovery that Glanders disease was discovered at Rio Olympic Sites, we have a disaster beyond our imagination waiting to happen. Even Ganders is recognized by the Center for Disease Control as something that could potentially infect humans, despite it normally affecting animals.

 

What we have here ladies and gentlemen, is a diseased ridden country, with corruption that’s touched all corners of the Rio government that it can’t even pay its own vendors on time. Moreover its these same vendors who are caught in a massive investigation on accusations of bribery and corruption.

We are ONE YEAR AWAY from RIO and we’re just barely dealing with this? I walk away in disbelief in this article that two construction firms are in massive trouble, with one of Brazil’s largest firms about to go under because of the sheer crushing volume of debt and another one who’s broken contractual agreements (likely because of the lack of payments from the Brazilian government). That’s two construction companies who are likely not operating or assisting in construction.

We also have two means of infectious diseases impacting guests and athletes of the 2016 Olympic Games: From contaminated water and sewage impacting the Guanabara Bay AND now Glanders impacting horses, trainers, vets, and countless others.

The 2016 Olympic Games is becoming a death trap. There are no backup plans for ANY of the venues, and right now, both animal and humans lives are at risk.

If I was an athlete, I would say no to Rio. If I was a coach, I would be demanding the IOC move the 2016 Summer Olympic Games right now.

It’s clear that no amount of money thrown at these problems will correct these problems in a manner that would be safe for both spectators and athletes. The most valuable currency the Rio and Brazilian Government needs is time, and it is something they do not have enough of.

It is after all one year until the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

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This July 27, 2015 aerial photo, shows Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Construction is underway on a project to cap a pipe that long spewed raw sewage into the marina, the starting place for the Olympic sailing events. Yet Associated Press testing of the marina's water quality found it laden with sewage viruses. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

AP Investigation: Rio’s 2016 Olympic Waters Highly Contaminated

Last week, the Associated Press (AP) published the results of an independent investigation for both viruses and bacteria in the waters surrounding the boating and swimming areas.

The results: According to the AP, “the water is so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games”

In some instances, some tests show that there is “1.7 million times the level of what would be considered hazardous in a Southern California beach”. It is essentially “raw sewage”.

In fact, not one water venue was found safe for any water sports, swimming, or boating.

 

Forgive me, but President Bach, members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – We are one year away from the 2016 Olympic Games. Where is your concern for the welfare of athletes? Do athletes need to suffer from massive illness, or even death before the IOC will act and intervene?

These latest results are screaming “move the Olympics”. Brazilian officials are not planning any alternative venues should these venues not be ready. Experts are weighing in that 99% of all athletes who swim in those waters will likely contract something if they ingest just three teaspoons of water.

We are asking for a HUGE black eye for the Olympics where politics and money trump common sense. It will be a massive, huge distraction from the Olympic games should athletes fall ill, or even, die from something that is preventable.

Even Rio Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao has acknowledged “there’s not going to be time” to finish the cleanup of the bay ahead of the games.

Members of the IOC, it is time to make the judgement call. It is time to put the welfare, and health of athletes ahead of all else. Brazil and Rio has had their chance to be on the global stage. They’ve had more than sufficient chance to prepare for the Olympics.

Now it is time for Rio bow out.

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2016 Rio Olympic Games Construction Update

Thanks to one of our readers, they sent us a link for a construction update on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as of June 15, 2015. The Daily Mail, granted, while not the most popular piece of journalism out there, did take quite a few photos and videos.

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Ideally the Olympic Village should start resembling as proposed above, however, the reality is that after looking at several of the photos and aerial footage taken by the Daily Mail, I’m astounded at how far behind they are.

Alex Riberio for Mail Online. Photo Courtesy of The Daily Mail
Alex Riberio for Mail Online. Photo Courtesy of The Daily Mail.

There are additional photos, videos and details available at The Daily Mail. Construction is in complete disarray. Several buildings are really just concrete foundation. There is a complete lack of urgency that the games are 400 days away, and nothing is completed. This is clearly becoming classic case of “over-promising and under-delivering”. It appears only three of the venues on the map are remotely complete, and that’s just externally.

Even though they have the exteriors of a few facilities complete, they still have to build out each of the stadiums internally. That means plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation, air and cooling! We are not even factoring in other things such as seating, signage, concessions, and other arena amenities.

According to Wikipedia, there are 34 proposed sporting venues. Of which, 10 of them do not require any permanent work. 8 requires some permanent work. 9 more venues require brand new construction and there are still 7 temporary venues that need to be worked on.

The writing is on the wall, and it is clear as day that Rio is completely far behind. The situation is grave, and the 2016 Olympic Games are at risk. The budget risks are swelling to astronomical proportions, and no doubt the International Olympic Committee is wearing Rose Colored Glasses thinking and believing everything will still be delivered on time. Construction, project, and budget risks are not being managed.

If what the Daily Mail witnessed is true, the Brazilian Government is in complete disarray and disharmony, not able to work together to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to fruition in Rio.

Rio is so far behind it makes the Athens Games look competent. Can they pull off a Hail Mary like Athens? Doubtful in my opinion as Greece has full access to existing infrastructure and technical resources in the European Union that enables them to recover. Remember they barely delivered all venues on time in the July/August 2004 time frame! Literally down to a few days before the Olympic Games. The situation is completely different in Rio and they may not have the resources or existing infrastructure to accomplish what Greece did.

It is time to select and enact Plan B, International Olympic Committee. It is time to rescind the games from Rio and award it to another city.

 

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A Case for Moving the 2016 Olympic Games to Los Angeles

2016 Rio Olympic Games LogoThe 2016 Olympic Games are scheduled to begin in a little over 400 days. That is 400 days to complete venues. 400 days to build infrastructure. 400 to prepare to invite the world to the 2016 Olympic Games. The sad reality is that Rio is not ready.

In May, Reuters ran a piece on the readiness of Rio:

  • Rio has only 10% of 56 Olympic Construction, overlay and energy projects are finished. This is in contrast with 80% for the 2012 London Olympic games
  • State-run Oil Company Petrobras is embroiled in a corruption scandal, which has implicated several construction firms delivering Olympic Projects, is adding to the possibility of delays.
  • Deodoro – The second largest cluster of Olympic Venues located west of Rio where 11 sports including equestrian, BMX Biking, and kayaking will take place is completely unfinished
  • Deodoro has limited construction going on – mostly scaffolding about two stories high but nothing else.
  • Contracts have yet to be tendered to build the beach volleyball stadium on the sands of Copacabana
  • Guanabara bay – where sailing is suppose to be held – is a complete health hazard. The promises to clean the bay will not be cleaned in time.
  • Temporary venues for rugby and mountain biking have not been selected.
  • Power contracts have not been awarded yet. London awarded them in 20 months before the London games began. There are less than 14 months left before the Rio games begin.

Even Senior International Olympic Committee official John Coates commented that Rio’s readiness for the Olympics are the “worst I have experienced”

It is safe to say Rio is no where near ready, and we’re getting to a point where we’re nearing a level of incompleteness similar to Sochi.

 

The Case for Los Angeles

2024 Los Angeles Olympic Bid
2024 Los Angeles Olympic Bid

Los Angeles last held the Olympics in 1984. Despite the passage of time between 1984 and 2015, much of the venues have since has been refurbished, modernized, maintained, or replaced. Unlike the venues of the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic games, they still exist and are actively being used in one capacity or another.

In fact, Los Angeles may be one of the very few cities that can adequately be ready in the compressed timeframe of a little over a year. With its recent 2024 bid, arguably, 95% of the plans of where sports should be held are complete. There are a few exceptions as some venues proposed in the 2024 plan are not remotely ready (example: Farmer’s Field)

Proposed 2016 Venues (Adapted from the 2024 Plans)

  1. LA Memorial Coliseum – (Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, Track and Field)
  2. LA Convention Center – (Badminton, Gym – Rhythmics, Gym – Trampoline, Table Tennis)
  3. Staples Center – (Volleyball Finals – Indoor, Gymnastic Artistic)
  4. Galen Center – (Basketball)
  5. LA River – (Canoe/Kayak Slaom
  6. Uytengsu Swim Stadium – (Diving)
  7. Microsoft Theatre aka Nokia Theatre – (Fencing – Finals)
  8. Aquatics Center – (Swimming, Sync, Swimming)
  9. LA 84 Foundation Swim Stadium – (Water Polo)
  10. Walt Disney Concert Hall – (Taekwondo Finals)
  11. Shrine Auditorium – (Weightlifting)
  12. Drake Stadium – (Archery, Cycling – BMX)
  13. Pauley Pavilion – (Basketball Prelims 2)
  14. Rivieria Golf Club – (Golf)
  15. Corsair Stadium – (Field Hockey)
  16. Santa Monica Beach – (Triathlon, Volleyball – Beach)
  17. Velo Sports Center – (Cycling – Track)
  18. StubHub Track Stadium – (Field Hockey)
  19. StubHub Soccer Stadium – (Rugby, Football)
  20. StubHub Tennis Stadium – (Tennis)
  21. Long Beach Marine Stadium – (Canoe/Kayak Spring, Rowing)
  22. Walter Pyramid – (Handball)
  23. Long Beach Marina/Queen Mary – (Sailing)
  24. Long Beach Arena – (Handball)
  25. Long Beach Convention Center – (Judo, Taekwondo, Wrestling)
  26. Griffith Park – (Cycling – Mountain Bike)
  27. Hollywood Sign – (Cycling – Road)
  28. Santa Anita Park – (Equestrian)
  29. Hollywood Blvd – (Fencing)
  30. Rose Bowl Stadium – (Football Finals and Prelims)
  31. Qualcomm, AT&T, Sam Boyd Stadiums – Football Prelims 3, 4,& 5)
  32. The Forum – (Volleyball – Indoor)
  33. Fairplex Fairgrounds – (Modern Pentathlon, Shooting)
  34. Rodeo Drive – (Triathlon)

Possible other venues that could be used that was not proposed for 2024:

  • Dodgers Stadium
  • Angels Stadium of Anaheim
  • Honda Center for Basketball or Boxing
  • Anaheim Convention Center (Used in 1984 Olympics)
  • Ontario Convention Center
  • Mount San Antonio College
  • California State Polytechnic University Pomona
  • California State Dominguez Hills (Used in 1984 Olympics)
  • California State Fullerton (Used in 1984 Olympics)
  • East Los Angeles College (Used in 1984 Olympics)

Despite not having Farmer’s Field to host basketball, Los Angeles has a huge amount of additional venues capable of hosting any number of additional sporting events. All these facilities are actively being maintained and used.

If anything, the possibilities of being ready in a short amount of time is realistic. The money being invested into Rio could be invested into Los Angeles in building out mass transit for the residents of Los Angeles as a thank you for saving the games.

 

Let’s face it. Los Angeles is more ready than Rio, and it isn’t even trying. International Olympic Committee, it is time to face the reality that Rio isn’t ready. No amount of money we throw at it will have it ready in time. Let’s save face for the Olympic Games. Let’s move the games to Los Angeles.

Athlete’s health and safety are in jeopardy. The reputation of the Olympic Games are at risk. It is time to accept the fact that we need to execute Plan B, and Los Angeles may be the only real city that wants the Olympics and is ready for the 2016 Olympics.

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What’s Next for Rio and us

2016 Rio Olympic Games LogoChronos and I have been spending a lot of time, talking offline enjoying the wonders and taking in life. Since 2009, we have been authoring the disasters of Internet Brands and vBulletin. Here we are six years later, and it is safe to say things have gone from bad to worse. Needless to say, our voices fell on deaf ears at Internet Brands, and the outcome was less that spectactular (unless you count the spectactular blunder that is called vBulletin 5).

We both have been talking as of late what to do with this blog. We both agreed that walking away from it is not in the best interest as we have a unique opportunity to share our thoughts and some very blunt truths.

We are still intending to blog about vBulletin and how Internet Brands is more like “imitation brands” but we’re taking the unique opportunity to occasionally talk about other upcoming disasters.

We will be blogging in the coming weeks about multiple upcoming disasters, and one of them comes to mind: the Journey to Rio – as in the 2016 Summer Games.

Both Chronos and I are avid sports enthusiasts and we have been appalled at the fact the International Olympic Committee and the host country has been mismanaging the project. In fact, both of us are once again in a similar spot to where we were six years ago: Frustrated at a management team who is completely disconnected from what is happening at the front lines. Both Chronos and I felt it’s time to voice our opinion as there is something more at stake.

 

The issues and problems facing the Rio games are so bleak, my heart becomes heavy thinking about all the friends and families of athletes to have to endure and suffer through the 2016 Games due to potentially inadequate or shoddyly, and hasily constructed facilities.

In fact, the official word from the International Olympic Committee is that there is no backup for Rio. In fact, the only solution they have at this point in time is to throw more money at the Rio games in an effort to get things complete by 2016.

The reality is that money can fix many things, but it won’t fix cultural issues and continously gross mismanagement. Sochi was a clear indicator for that, and it was a massive spectacle as athletes that the 2014 Winter Games started trending on social media as #sochifails.

As we head into the 2016 Summer Games, it appears the sheer volume of #riofail are growing, and tensions are rising. The safety and welfare of atheletes, coaches, and guests from around the world are in jeopardy. The reputation of the Olympic Games are at stake.

Hard Decisions need to be made. These are no ordinary times. It is time for extraordinary actions and steps to be taken. Politics be damned, there is more at stake than simply the pride of a country. It is the pride of the entire world.
It is time for the International Olympic Committee to recind the games from Rio and move it to a city that has facilities that can support the summer games. Move the games to Beijing. Move it to Atlanta. Move it to Sydney. Move it to Los Angeles.

Either way, a disaster beyond our imagination is growing in Rio.

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