Now that the lights have gone out for the biggest global celebration and the Olympic flame merely smoke rising towards the sky, now that efforts, agonies, triumphs, and disappointments are just sweet memories, now is the right time for appraisal and some post-Olympic thoughts.
Having had the opportunity and honor to participate in four Olympic Games as part of the television production, there are many thoughts I want to share with my friends and readers. But there's one thing I want to express above all. And that is my humble opinion that Rio De Janeiro is the most beautiful city I've ever visited. And I travel a lot in my life.
Rio De janeiro is so beautiful that is almost magical. The way that tropical nature embraces the urban environment and becomes one with it is unique. Modern architecture mingles with century-old buildings dating from the era of the Portuguese Empire in total harmony. Even the favelas, those (in)famous urban quarters that repel and attract at the same time, seem to be one with the stars and Rio's summer night sky. And if someone has the opportunity to be on a favela rooftop, then they will enjoy a view that only Gods can have.
There was a lot of discussions and thousands of articles were posted about criminality and safety issues. Bare in mind that we are talking about a 6.5 million city in South America and, of course, someone take precautions--just as they should in downtown Detroit or London's Camden Town. Did I feel some threat or danger? The same one that I feel on Manhattan's Lower East Side on weekends, when groups of wasted youngsters stroll around the streets spoiling for a fight. Rio De Janeiro is a big city and deals with its problems. It is working things out though with a very basic tool: its wonderful inhabitants, the Cariocas.
The level of the "media war" waged against Rio 2016 and the negative propaganda it suffered, with criminality and the Zika virus as the drivers, was unfair and not based on true facts. Especially with regards to Zika, all those who engaged in the orchestrated attack on Rio made sure to conveniently overlook certain facts such as the season--that it was winter--and that the Zika virus is mainly a problem in southern Brazil. We were "bitten" by a lot of things in Rio, but not some mosquito carrying the Zika virus. It was just the same war that we experienced over the Athens 2004 Olympics, except then it was fears of possible terrorist actions, and over the Beijing 2008 Olympics over the labor conditions of those who worked at the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, certain interests view the Olympic Games as an opportunity for political games. And I am sure this will continue in the future. The truth is that Rio organized beautiful Games because it's a beautiful city. And it's a beautiful city because it's full of beautiful people. And those people were the working power of those games.
We are now turning towards the Tokyo Games in four years and what the city has promised: that in Tokyo 2020 we will experience the most high-tech Games ever organized. This is the promise we are expecting from Japanese people. Their mentality, discipline, sense of taste, and heritage are factors that make us certain that they can deliver this promise.
Talking about problems, let's look at one that emerges in the Tokyo case. Tokyo in 2013 topped the list of the most expensive cities in the world regarding cost of living and still remains as one of the most expensive cities worldwide. In terms of the global celebration of human values and not just sports, how will this inhibit people who would like to visit Tokyo during the Olympic Games? After all, isn't the true meaning of the Games to bring together people and cultures from around the globe during a short period of time so they can discover their common ground and the fascinating differences that characterize everybody? Would the Games loose their real meaning if they are accessible only to a very small group of people who can afford such an expense?
On September 13, 2017, in Lima, Peru, the IOC will decide which the host-city for the 2024 Olympic Games willl be. I will dare a prediction: that the U.S. presidential election this November will be the deciding factor. Because I cannot believe that the IOC will give the 2024 Games to Los Angeles if Donlad Trump is the next American president. Who said that not everything about the Olympic Games is politics?