According to a report from the Associated Press, John Coates, the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – an individual with about 40 years of experience in Olympic games – stated this past Tuesday that the current delayed preparations for the 2016 Games in Rio are the worst he has ever experienced.
Unfortunately, I am not surprised.
Take a look at the situation with the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, a tournament scheduled to start in a mere 42 days – the stadium selected for the opening game in São Paulo, named Arena Corinthians, has yet to be fully completed.
And that is not to mention the many other issues plaguing the upcoming international soccer competition.
Coates is concerned about the Summer Olympics – an event that is more than two years away – and he has all the rights to feel that way.
Coates’ statement touches a archetypal characteristic of Brazilian public administration: “There is bureaucracy, there is little coordination between the federal, the state government and the city”, he said – and he’s right.
In Brazil, bureaucracy is king.
A recent study among 183 countries revealed that the Brazilian bureaucracy is worst than Mozambique, Ethiopia or Sierra Leone. That not only makes much more challenging for people, organizations and companies (either local or multinational) to accomplish their goals in that nation but – and perhaps more important – enables the endurance (and rise) of corruption in public agencies.
Such corruption seems to run rampant in many levels of government and, in recent years, the Brazilian people have been taking to the streets all over the country protesting against the inequity of public spending towards international sporting events compared to the funding of basic infrastructure such as hospital, housing, schools and transportation.
In the next months (and years), in particular during these events, the world spotlight will be pointed to Brazil. And it is likely that the light will shine not only on athletes and their games, but will also reveal a country that many outside of it may not know.
And, in this day and age, for the people of a (so-called ‘developing’) country to be showcased in the global public eye for this extent period of time is unprecedented.
While this exposure may come sponsored by mainstream media and sport industries, it requires plenty of ‘live transmissions’ – and those are hard to filter.
Ready or not, Brazil will take center stage.
I am sure it will make history.