24 February 2014

What Russia did wrong at Sochi . . . that Brazil hopes to do right in Rio

Brazil watched the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and not because Brazil is particularly interested in snow sports. No, Brazil kept an eye on Sochi with some butterflies in its collective stomach, because Brazil is — as we say in baseball — on deck. And although Brazil has a serious rehearsal coming up in the form of the 2014 World Cup in June, in many ways the preparations for that event have taken on a life of their own. Authorities seem to have given up somewhat on trying to keep the hotel prices in check (they’ve tripled), on trying to control the soaring airfares as well, on trying to push the still-unfinished stadiums to be finished before the day the games start, and in trying to keep a lid on the recent spate of violent street protests. Whatever happens at the World Cup is going to happen, but then Brazil will have two years to take a deep breath and get it together for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Didn't take long for this error to go viral 
Brazil is of course completely immune to the problems Sochi had with its loose, sugary, artificial snow. Not pertinent to Summer Olympics. Not a problem. And Brazil is pretty cool on the stray dog problem. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stray dogs on the streets of Brazil and no one’s going to put any of them to sleep. Brazil loves its stray dogs. So chalk up another one for Brazil. And we’re all pretty sure that the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will go off without any hitches. Brazil excels at The Big Show; after all, they put on an enthralling Carnaval spectacle every year. I think we’re looking at another positive for Brazil.

As for the inability of the Chobani yogurt company to ship its yogurt to Russia because it lacked proper customs certification, well — I’ll bet a carton of non-fat plain that Chobani yogurt can be shipped to Brazil, where any and all necessary paperwork can always be drawn up, stamped, certified and notarized, even if a little cash has to be passed under the table. I mean, if the U.S. can ship these non-food foods to Brazil, they can ship Chobani yogurt.

In addition to all of the above, the $50 billion that Russia spent on preparing for Sochi’s Winter Games is about what Brazil expects to spend on the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics combined! So in many respects Brazil can breathe a huge sigh of relief.

No, wait, stop! Brazil isn’t getting out of the woods that easily. There have been a number of serious problems in Sochi, as the newspapers have described in painstaking detail. Just take a gander at Twitter’s @SochiProblems and you’ll see all about the five sports facilities that were still being worked on two days before the Games opened, and the hotels that were not ready (no water, no heat, no linens, no curtains, doorknobs that fell off or locked automatically from the outside), and the faulty Internet service. You’ll see pictures of open manholes and enormous piles of construction debris left around the stadiums. Some of that could happen here in Brazil too, and Brazil knows it. But Brazil will have a wonderful opportunity to test the readiness of stadiums, venues and hotels in the upcoming World Cup. I’m confident they’ll have all problems solved before someone creates @RioProblems — except for the problems they won’t have solved.


  1. Fiquei apaixonada pelo seu blog. Assinei para seguir. Tenho um blog www.discoverthebrazil.blogspot.com e estava tentando encontrar algo para meu próximo post sobre o Brazilian way of living e encontrei o seu blog. Brevemente vou fazer a postagem e inserir um tópico retirado do seu blog, com o aproriado link.
    Parabéns por ajudar a difundir a cultura brasileira! Um grande abraço!

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  3. Oi, Maria, que legal que achou o meu blog e gostou! Fico lisonjeada! Vou dar um olhar no seu, é claro. Beijos, Barbara