The Road to Rio Olympics is Riddled With Potholes
What kind of games can we look forward to?
Published on August 2, 2016

In just a few days all eyes are on Rio, for the most infamously ill-conceived, prepared for and executed olympics in the history of the games, and as more and more athletes drop out over concerns of Zika virus and the Russian delegation stares a doping-related suspension in the face, the competition doesn’t seem like it will be much more polished.

Among the new additions to the roster of sports, Golf and Rugby stand as two opposite ends of the spectrum with regards to Olympic coverage. As each of the world’s top golfers drop out one by one over concerns that they might contract Zika while in Rio, ESPN covers each defection like a “Titanic Sinks!”-level headline. Will the competition be a sham without the golfers who appear on all their commercials?

ESPN seems to think so, which means that lazy reporters everywhere think so too. Rugby, on the other hand, is getting next to no play in U.S. media despite the American side having taken an NFL Safety for good measure. Meanwhile, swimming and gymnastics are once again poised to be our favorite sports for two weeks before slipping into an obscurity so thick and palpable it seems like an affront to decency when they are shown in non-olympic years. 

Oh, and fears about the infrastructure being ill-prepared in Rio for an olympic games are coming to be validated as the swimming water remains toxic and filled with human shit, workers are treated like dogs and people are displaced as a matter of course, not to mention the fact that the police and other public servants in Brazil are holding banners at the airport welcoming olympic revelers to “Hell” thanks to the lack of public funding their event has received.

Sochi managed against all odds to pull off an olympiad in 2014 despite similar conditions, in which the olympic village lacked working toilets and the hotels remained half-built at best, but it seems upon closer inspection that more than just the buildings may have been facades as the Russian team is revealed two years later to have undergone a system of doping meant to win “at any cost.” I’ll watch the olympics in two weeks like I always have, but there will have to be a seriously touching and inspirational story to make up for the corruption, negligence and sociopathy that has come to represent the games.

Tim Baker
Tim Baker is a New York-based writer and sometimes editor whose work has appeared in Newsweek, TV Guide, CBS and Discovery Special Editions, and can regularly be found at He has an MFA in creative writing from The New School and also attended Hunter College of the City University of New York.
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