Naked Opinion

The Real Losers of the Olympics

Behind shiny gold metals lies the untold horrors faced by many locals of Rio de Janeiro.

Behind shiny gold metals lies the untold horrors faced by many locals of Rio de Janeiro.

The glamour of the Olympics is not a thornless rose. Behind the beautiful skyline vignettes and patriotic tourist shots is a scene not yet captured on television. It is a scene of the corrupt reality for several locals who find themselves sacrificed by their own governments.

The $240 billion allocated for the Olympics has been funneled towards infrastructure, housing, and other projects to meet the International Olympics Committee Standards. The combination of increased taxes and governmental spending cuts may result in an entertaining show for foreign viewers, but it directly damages the locals.

1.5 million of Rio’s residents live in Favelas, Brazilian slums. While these areas have become safer during recent years, the number of these Favelas has dramatically increased. Research done by the Seven Pillars Institute examined the implications of heightened tourism and outside investment. Historical analysis indicates that profits rarely benefit the public; instead, the money goes directly to investors and shareholders. Yes, infrastructure has improved, but this development is irregular and typically only favors construction corporations and wealthy residents. Teachers and professors are unpaid, and government officials have prioritized medicine for wealthy tourists, making it inaccessible for locals.

Marie Auxiliadora, a resident of a Favella outside of downtown Rio de Janeiro, shared her thoughts on the Olympics in an interview with the New York Times.

“I have not gotten my retirement check for a month. Our hospitals and schools are broken. Shooting every day, and they spend all of our money on this Olympics. The rich play, and we die.”

Her words reveal the distinction between the glorified version of Rio portrayed by the media, and the decaying product of the Olympics- the modern epitome of the Theatre State. This exploitation of Brazilian residents has become an industry. Media outlets make billions of dollars off of the false sense of the city. Even investigations into this corruption has become an opportunity for more elites to capitalize on wrongdoings.

While the Olympics is a special occasion and certainly worthy of celebration, it is naïve to neglect the effect on Brazilians.



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About the author

Morgan Ogryzek

Morgan Ogryzek

Morgan Ogryzek is an incoming freshman at Harvard University. She presides over her orchestra as the Operations Manager and enjoys playing her violin to produce music. As a cofounder of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, Morgan has allowed her school to march in Atlanta Pride and participate in local activism projects.
Morgan was selected as a student advocate and featured speaker in the United Nations Ban All Nukes Campaign. She also presides over a middle school debate program which participates in the local urban debate league. She also encourages strong public speaking skills in youth through her P.S. from Morgan organization.

Her passion for social activism also collides with a strong interest in science policy. Morgan is an alumna of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, where she engaged in politics, law, and economics.
In her leisure time, Morgan listens to jazz and reads historical fiction.


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