After Rio de Janeiro bulldozed entire neighborhoods and displaced roughly 20,000 families to build stadiums and luxury hotels for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, protesters flooded the streets, accusing the city of selling its soul. Now, with those temples to worldwide competition crumbling only months after the closing ceremonies of the last games, the question becomes: To what end?
Even though officials touted the possibility of responsibly repurposing Olympics infrastructure leading up to Rio’s hosting, the Maracana Stadium has been looted, the games precinct has been shut down and other facilities are struggling to pay the bills, the Guardian reports.
“The most alarming visual deterioration can be seen at the Maracana, where worms have damaged the now-threadbare playing surface, windows inside the stadium have been smashed, copper wire stolen from walls and ceilings, and a reported 10% of the 78,000 seats have been torn up,” according to the paper. “Late in January local electric utility company Light cut off power to the stadium in response to unpaid bills, claimed to be in the region of three million reals ($940,000 in U.S. dollars).”
The $20 million golf course, along with several arenas, a tennis center and the velodrome, are struggling to attract new players. The golf course’s superintendent, Neil Cleverly, told the Guardian that the Brazilian Golf Confederation hasn’t paid the company that employs him, Progolf, for two months.
The news will probably not be surprising to critics of the Olympics, in Rio and beyond.