Fiddling while Rome Burns or How Corruption Is Killing a Competitive Spirit

corruption and the competitive spirit

After the last preparations to one of the most epic sport events have been finished. The Olympic Games 2016 kicked off with a fancy welcoming show. And so did the scandals around it. The street chaos, led to polluted water, and the Zika virus outbreak show: “Collapse” is going to be a synonym to “Olympics 2016.”

The Mensalao schemes led to a large financial crisis that started in 2005. This intensified by the Car Wash investigation in 2014. This brought Brazil’s economy into big trouble. The Unemployment rates within Brazil have contnued to rise. Tax revenues continue to shrink, and an all-embracing financial recession deepens daily. Is it this best time for Olympics?

the Russian doping ban scandal marred The Olympic games before the flames reached Rio . Even before the Games opened there was an onset of crises afflicting the games. 68 athletes from the Russian national team faced the threat of being suspended. The scandal was provoked by the revelation of a large state-sponsored program.

This has, allegedly, falsified the sport results shown by the Russian team for many years now. The experts state that the practice was based on a simple scheme: the replacement of urine tests. Its successful functioning is related to one simple fact. The program has received support from the Ministry of Sport and other governmental structures. What’s more, the fraud was in action during many of the major contests. Grigory Radchenkov confesses in his interview to the New York Times “the scheme has a long history, we had to use it at Sochi Olympiad as well.”

Apart from Russian athletes, who were banned from competing in the Games. The contest showed the cases of voluntarily withdrawals from the Olympics. Promising athletes like Tejay and McIlroy made a decision to drop out of the competition and protect their families from the Zika virus. which has recently broke in Brazil. Due to the NIH-based research. Only in the last year, the infection left 9.9 million visitors of Brazil conducive to the transmission of the virus. Which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and can provoke microcephaly.

What does the Brazilian health sector do about the problem? Not much. Why? Because many corrupt schemes and embezzlements have been ongoing. There has been a devastation of the country’s finance in the last decade. This has evoked the steep decline in medical treatment quality. The Ministry of Health, In 2015,  declared the shortage of the vaccination in Rio de Janeiro was due to the “funding crisis.”

The further health threats for guests of the Olympics come from the toxic water contamination. According to the initial promises of Rio de Janeiro authorities. The problem had to be eliminated until the official opening of the Games. But, 8 months ago, the government announced about the impossibility “to treat 80% of sewage entering Guanabara Bay.” The reason for that is anything but unexpected – the lack of state funding.

Anger and pessimism coming from the local society is adding the heat. The reports reveal that there was a serious growth of criminality over the last year, in Rio. Robbery is becoming the regular reaction to unemployment and a drastic budget slash. Australian athletes became the first victims of Rio crime chaos: a week before the Olympics’ start. Expensive computer equipment and T-shirts were stolen from the apartment of the team.

The fact that security oversaw the theft does not surprise Games’ visitors anymore. There was also the “welcome to hell” post. Created by police officers from Rio and staged in the international airport on the day of Olympics’ opening it spoke for itself. This showed the world that they do not carry any responsibility for the security concerns surrounding the Olympics. The reason being “police and firefighters don’t get paid”.

The rest of Rio locals did not stand aside. The protests against governmental corruption and Olympics expenditures broke in the heart of Rio. Despairing citizens took part in an anti-corruption march. The intention to reach Maracana Stadium, where the opening took place. The destination was not reached, but, with the police subduing the protest with tear gas.

The problem is, not unique. On the other side of the continent, Ukraine is getting ready for the new world-rank contest. This time, a music one. The grandiose victory at Eurovision 2016, in Stockholm, led the Ukrainian government to a new challenge to cope with.  The setting up of a place for the contest and getting funding from Europe.

In his interview to OIK Times, the Executive Supervisor of EBU, Jon Ola Sand, stated that the government has a lot to do. The first problem being the renovation of the Sport Palace in Kiev, which is suggested as the most probable contest venue.

For the country, shaken by the Donbass conflict, which is striving to get back on their feet after Maidan revolution. Eurovision 2017 should definitely not be the key event. For Ukrainian authority, “2016 could be an historical year – make or break,” claims the head of ACC. By this, the expert means the completion of the final anti-corruption reforms and reaching the deadline set by Europe.

The EU made it quite clear: as long as Ukraine is not implementing the transparent administrative system free of Post-soviet corruption. The Union entry is closed for the country. Does not it seem like a bigger trouble than discussing Eurovision stage at the governmental meetings? Not to mention the armed conflict in the east.

Don’t get me wrong. Fighting corruption does not mean sabotaging all world contests. But isn’t it important considering the contexts of show setting? People do not want to celebrate today if they know they will get no bread tomorrow.

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