By Roger Currie
Hands up if you can’t wait for the Rio Olympics that are now less than a month away. I’m not seeing many hands. Is it just me, or are the Summer Games shaping up to be the latest international disaster of 2016? A year that has already seen more than its share of disappointment.
Do you know of anyone, besides most of our elite athletes, who can’t wait to get there? Beyond Rio, the next summer games will happen in 2020 in Tokyo, but many are seriously wondering if there will be much left of the Olympic movement by then.
The list of nightmarish problems that have happened to Rio is a long one. Golf is part of the games this year for the first time in more than a century, but many of the big names from both the men’s and women’s pro tours are choosing not to travel to Brazil because of the Zika virus.
As always, there are serious questions about how ready the Olympic facilities will be, and there are very serious concerns about water quality, both at the aquatic venues and coming out of the taps at the athletes’ village.
Rio is a fabulous place to party on the beach, but there’s a lot of crime, and competitors say they probably won’t be doing much sightseeing.
Then there are the Russians. Many of their top competitors have been disqualified for doping violations, putting athletes from many countries under a dark cloud of suspicion.
A decade ago, a news organization like the dear old CBC would be having a veritable feast reporting on all these sordid stories and more. But today, in the vanishing world of real journalism, even the Corporation is very limited in what they can say. Our public broadcaster paid millions to bring the events in Rio to Canadian living rooms and smart devices, and they dare not offend the Olympic brass, or the corporate sponsors who are paying the bills.
As I always say, other than that, Rio should be just one laugh after another.
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Roger Currie is a writer, storyteller, voice for hire, observer of life on the Canadian prairies, and can be heard on CJNU 93.7FM in Winnipeg.