With only eight days until the Rio 2016 Olympics start and endless negative press, is this the perfect storm for a major crisis?
In the weeks leading up to the Olympics, there has been one negative news story after another, centred either on the games specifically or Brazil in general.
These stories have ranged from:
- News of construction collapses
- Antibiotic resistant bacteria found on a popular beach front
- The Zika virus – which as a consequence, has caused numerous top-named athletes to drop out of the games
- Terrifying crime rate statistics including reports of 50,000 rapes recorded in Brazil last year
- Reports that both the police and firefighters are striking during the games
- Olympic teams complaining about Rio’s athlete village
- Generally speaking, there has been turmoil involving the countless Russian athletes banned from taking part following positive drugs test results from both the Beijing and London Olympics
- And most recently… the news that Bernie Ecclestone’s mother-in-law has been kidnapped from outside her Sao Paulo home (thus adding to the idea that Brazil is not safe) and is being held ransom for £27 million.
There is endless negativity surrounding Brazil and the Olympics, and while some of these issues, including the Zika virus, are out of the control of the Brazilian government, others are not.
A crisis during the Olympics is not a new phenomenon though. Particularly when you compare the build up to ‘London 2012’ against ‘Rio 2016’.
Cast your mind back four years and you may recall ‘London 2012’ was under the microscopic lens of the global media as we were in the midst of our own crises, including the massive infrastructural investment and nervousness around post-Olympic London.
One major issue hinged around G4S, the security company responsible for staffing the games. The organisation was under immense media scrutiny as a journalist investigation revealed it was not only short staffed for the games, but accused of inadequate training as an undercover journalist wandered around restricted areas.
This led to questions over the safety of the games – were they open to terrorist attacks? How well prepared were the security forces in the event of something like this happening?
To add some context to the situation, G4S faced criticism over several of its other operations in different countries, thus adding to the image it was a wholly incompetent organisation.
So how was this crisis managed?
Although Nick Buckles, the CEO of G4S, gave evidence to MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee over the failings, as a brand it stayed relatively quiet and chose to ‘ride out the storm’.
Security reinforcements were provided in the form of Army personnel and the games went off without any notable security issues, hence, adding to the overall success. In the end we were all happy – the Olympics had been a success, there were no major incidents of public security and the investments made in housing and stadiums are still being used.
So, is the negative build up just the ‘Olympic effect’ or should more be done to safeguard security ahead of 5th August?
If negative issues keep arising, there is every possibility this could be the perfect storm for a major crisis. Only time will tell…