Impossible not to have snafus in the course of such a massive event, with so many countries involved, and it's now widespread knowledge that in London the snafus began even before the Games officially started. There were security problems, transportation problems, failed ticket sales and diplomatic gaffes, just to mention some of what's been written about in the press. And then there was that . . . eclectic? . . . Opening Ceremony. Let's see how Brazil's Olympic Organizing Committee might evaluate its challenges in light of London's performance:
|A humiliated Nick Buckles, G4S CEO|
2. Transportation — A couple of bus drivers who didn't know how to navigate the city streets of London got lost on the way from Heathrow Airport to the Athletes' Village? No worries, because on that score Rio probably has the upper hand. Getting all the way across London from Heathrow to the East End is kind of like trying to dribble a soccer ball through your opponent's defenders. For the land of Pele, Garrincha, Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldhino and Neymar, the stretch between Galeão Airport here in Rio and the Olympic Village in Barra da Tijuca — that's a walk in the park.
|The only map a Rio bus driver will need|
3. Opening Ceremony — Okay, we've all Monday-morning-quarterbacked the topic of London's Opening Ceremony. Everyone's got an opinion or a dig. But after watching it, even Brazil's usually circumspect President Dilma immediately said that Brazil could do better. You want a spectacular show with thousands of cast members, lots of music, dancing, costumes, lights and special effects, all to go off without a hitch? Has anyone been to Carnaval here in Brazil? I mean, Brazil's been putting this show on for years. My advice? The Organizing Committee has only to turn to Paulo Barros, the most inventive of the current crop of carnavalescos whose genius would go a long way to making Rio's Opening Ceremony a stunner.
I remember the opinions Mark and I heard from two friends of ours after the 2016 Summer Olympic Games were awarded to Rio. One friend was adamant that the Games will never happen here. "There's no way Brazil will get such a complex event organized," he said. "Mark my words, the IOC will take the Games away from Brazil." But the other friend was unruffled. "No," he said. "The Games will happen here. They'll just happen in Brazil's way." Myself, I'm banking on Brazil.