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Rio Olympics: will Brazil be ready? Why so much of the world thinks it won’t.

Lbby Nelson

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Aug. 4, 2016

When a new elevated bike path in Rio collapsed in April, hit by a fluke wave, the deaths of two people weren’t just seen as a tragedy. The collapse became an irresistible metaphor for the state of Olympic readiness in Brazil.

As Rio prepares for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which open Friday night, the bike path is not the only disaster to serve that purpose. There were also the body parts washing up on the shore where beach volleyball games will be played, the toxically polluted bay that will host swimming and sailing events, and the skydivers who fell to their deaths trying to recreate the Olympic rings.

The concerns about Rio de Janeiro’s readiness are understandable: Brazil has the unenviable task of hosting an Olympics at the intersection of more crises than many nations see in a decade. The good news is that the Games themselves probably won’t seem like a disaster. The bad news is that they could end up worsening Brazil’s already deep problems.