Despite promises from local authorities, the Rio Olympics is already experiencing many of the difficulties prophesied by sports officials, both inside Brazil and outside.
On Sunday, workers were unable to get to their morning shifts on time because public transportation did not start until 7 a.m. – which was when many workers were scheduled to be at the Olympic grounds, not still on their way.
To add insult to injury, the app developed by Rio 2016 organizers to help speed up transportation issues crashed late Saturday, leaving spectators, athletes, and officials, stranded, late, and embarrassed. IOS and Apple mobile device users were out of luck, but devices from Samsung, who just happens to be one of the major sponsors, appeared to be up and running in a matter of hours. All others had to depend on emails.
The weather, also, functioned less than perfectly, with high winds disrupting Sunday rowing events. Outside of a chance of rain on Wednesday, it looks like the weather will settle down and cooperate beautifully during the rest of the week.
Spectators on Sunday who came to the Rio Centro Complex for beginning ceremonies complained that they missed much of the spectacle due to impossibly long lines – making the ones at Disneyland seem short in comparison.
Several venues ran short on food on Sunday and Monday, closing up while there were still long lines of famished spectators. Other eateries remained open, but Passionate About Food reported that “customers complained they had to wait up to fifty minutes before receiving their order. Pao de Queijo just doesn’t taste that good when it’s stone cold.”
Maracana Stadium and Future Arena were both tapped out Sunday night when hungry patrons went looking for nourishment.
An official with the Rio 2016 organizers told reporters “We are looking into this supply line glitch.”
Outraged spectators nearly rioted at the US vs China basketball game on Saturday night, when the ticket dispensing machines went offline, not only creating long lines, but preventing thirsty fans from getting any beer. As one fan quipped: “Grown men were seen weeping into their soft drink cups.”
Organizers quickly issued a blanket apology after the snafus on Saturday and Sunday, saying in part: “We apologize for these problems and hope to have a handle on all of them by the time this day is over. We expect to be putting more workers on all the x ray machines as one way to bring down the length of waiting lines to something reasonable.”
Mario Andrada, the Olympic Communications Director, promised one-hundred more staff members on the logistics team by the end of the day.
So far, the infamous Rio de Janeiro traffic jams have not been as serious as was dreaded. That said, in a separate incident on Sunday, an unattended bag at the Rio Mar BRT station caused police to close the main access to the Olympic Park, Avenidas des Americas, for several hours, until they could detonate the suspicious bag. The bag was found to contain no explosives.