The Rio 2016 Olympics are going to be … interesting. Lurking behind the standard fanfare and athletic intrigue that accompany any Summer Games, the first Olympics on South American soil brings with it a certain element of danger. Although Rio de Janeiro isn’t one of the 21 Brazilian cities on the list of the world’s 50 highest murder rates, its 1,202 homicides in 2015 are more than the three most violent U.S. cities combined.
And then there’s Zika. The mosquito-borne virus capable of producing severe birth defects has prompted at least 17 would-be Olympians – including the world’s top four golfers, in the sport’s Olympic return – to pull out of the Games, while putting very reasonable doubt in the minds of visitors from abroad. Olympic officials have, in turn, tried to downplay the dangers and emphasize the millions spent to promote public health during the Games. And yes, Zika cases are down compared to early in the year, but how much solace does that really provide?
The good news is that none of that should detract from the actual athletic action, which promises to be great, as Team USA seeks to once again finish atop the medal count while 555 individual storylines play out, including those of a pair of 16-year-olds from New Jersey hoping to enjoy the sweetest of all celebrations. To help get you ready for all that Rio 2016 promises to offer, we compiled an awesome infographic filled with fun facts on every major aspect of the XXXI Olympiad, which you can find below. You can also check out our Q&A with a panel of leading experts on the socioeconomic issues underlying the event. Enjoy, and go USA!
To get a better understanding of the Rio Games’ biggest storylines, we posed the following questions to a panel of experts in the fields of sociology, economics, public policy and more. You can check out their bios and responses below.
- What do you think is the biggest threat facing the Rio Olympics?
- What safety tips do you have for US tourists that will attend the Rio Olympics?
- Do you think that the US Olympic team will take first place in the medal count?
- Do you think news reports about Rio not being prepared for the games are accurate or exaggerated?
- Do you think hosting the Olympics will prove to be an economic boom or economic bust for Brazil?