Rio deserved better than four entitled swim bros that can't handle their alcohol, or tell a lie. Brazil deserved better than 3 months of US media coverage solely focused on Zika, pollution, fear, corruption and crime. If you've ever wondered why the rest of the world dislikes Americans, this is why.
Perched atop their peak of exceptionalism, Americans finger wag at the world. Inhaling infallible air, exhaling arrogance. Rather than celebrating South America's first Olympic Games, the rich diversity and remarkable landscape found in Brazil, US media outlets picked at the country like a mentally abusive spouse, and their angry mob of viewers spurred them on.
Ask a Brazilian. They'd be the first to acknowledge their faults and shortcomings as a developing nation. I wonder if Americans would be so forthcoming? If Los Angeles hosted the Summer Games this year (they are bidding for 2024) I wonder if journalists would write about the 44,000 homeless people in LA County.....how the development in Downtown marginalized thousands of families, causing Skid Row's desperate population to double. Will they mention the failed Metro expansion, that runs at a $30 million dollar deficit, supported by one of the largest subsidies in the world. Would they detail the oil spill in Ventura or on the Santa Barbara coast...mention the largest greenhouse gas disaster in US history this January in Aliso Canyon. Maybe they'd do a piece about that time 20 years ago when Atlanta hosted the Olympics and an American set off a bomb in Centennial Olympic Park, killing two and injuring 111. I wonder.
When it's all said and done, the biggest losers of this Olympics aren't those who failed to medal, it's those viewers and readers who were deprived a more holistic view of Brazilian life and culture. Covering stories on the Zika epidemic, political corruption, inequality, pollution and the largest recession in 80 years is essential to painting Rio's current portrait, they can't be denied, but equally important are the extensive cultural elements that when woven together create a tropical tapestry of color and sound unlike anything else in the world.
It's all too late now. The next news cycle is already upon us, journalists, and the world, have moved on. It would be nice though, wouldn't it? To really know what happened in Rio. How many of the millions of tourists contracted a virus from the sands of Copacabana beach like US reporters feared? What rowers suffered from the tainted waters? Which athletes were harmed or hurt? I did hear Usain Bolt say this was the best Games he's ever been a part of. Heard of some robberies. I did see the beach volleyball stadium rocking every night with an energy like nothing I've ever seen at an Olympics before. Saw a lot of partying. I read of a corrupt Irish IOC official, and of course, a few dumb Americans doing dumb American things too.
I guess we'll never know, well Americans won't. And maybe, for Brazil and the rest of World, that's a good thing.