Getty Images

Rio Olympics cost $13.1 billion

Leave a comment

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — An analysis by The Associated Press shows that the cost of putting on the Rio Olympics was $13.1 billion, paid for with a mix of public and private money.

Officials of Brazil’s Public Authority for Olympic Legacy said at a news conference Wednesday, the cost for “sports-related venues” was 7.23 billion reals ($2.06 billion). In addition, the Rio organizing committee previously said the cost of running the Games at 9 billion reals ($2.8 billion).

The Olympic legacy body did not account for other Olympic-related costs. But the AP obtained them in emailed statements from city, state and federal agencies.

Those costs were 26.385 billion reals ($8.2 billion) for, among other things, a subway line, a doping laboratory, a renovated port and cleanup of polluted Guanabara Bay.

The doping laboratory was paid for by the federal government and cost 163.7 million reals ($50 million). A delay-plagued subway line project that was built to connect fans to Olympic Park had a price tag of 9.7 billion reals ($2.98 billion). According to a state auditor’s report cited in August, the railway was overbilled by 25 percent.

Another legacy project, the renovation of Porto Maravilha, a run-down historic area in Rio, cost the city 10 billion reals ($4.2 billion).

“Should a country with such inequality as Brazil have hosted such an event with this level of investment,” federal prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri said. He said it would be difficult to use the Olympic venues in a way that would generate enough income to cover maintenance expenses.

“It is a challenge and we can see the difficulties,” he said. “We recognize the difficulties.”

Officials presented the report at the Olympic Park in suburban Barra da Tijuca, which now consists of mostly vacant venues. Last month a federal prosecutor said many of the venues were “white elephants” that were built with “no planning.”

The Rio Olympics, which opened 10 months ago, were plagued by countless financial and organizational problems, and were hosted as Brazil sank into its deepest recession since the 1930s.

The state of Rio de Janeiro has been months late paying teachers, hospital workers, and pensions. The state also reported record-breaking crime in 2016 in almost all categories from homicides to robbery.

The problems around the Rio Games – and the aftermath – have called into question the wisdom of cities building new venues every few years to accommodate an event that lasts just over two weeks.

Paulo Marcio, the head of the Public Authority for Olympic Legacy, talked vaguely about plans to use the venues. The Olympic Park has staged mainly small national or local events.

He did not offer any cost or income figures with most of the Olympic arenas now being operated by Brazil’s federal government. A plan to auction off the venues to private operators failed when only one bidder was reported to be interested.

“I think that in a short period of time I will be able to deliver this legacy, and we have already been successful,” he said.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Rio Olympic medals falling apart

Alex Zanardi, auto racer turned Paralympic champion, has 5-hour surgery to rebuild face after crash

Alex Zanardi
AP
Leave a comment

SIENA, Italy (AP) — Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi underwent a five-hour surgery Monday to reconstruct his face following a crash on his handbike last month.

It was the third major operation that Zanardi has had since he crashed into an oncoming truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19 during a relay event.

Dr. Paolo Gennaro of Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena said the operation required three-dimensional digital and computerized technology that was “made to measure” for Zanardi.

“The complexity of the case was fairly unique, although this is a type of fracture that we deal with routinely,” Gennaro said in a hospital statement.

After the surgery, Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma.

“His condition remains stable in terms of his cardio-respiratory status and grave in terms of his neurological status,” the hospital medical bulletin read.

The 53-year-old Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been on a ventilator since the crash.

Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

Zanardi won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

Last month, Pope Francis penned a handwritten letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. The pope praised Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity.

Shawn Johnson East shares struggles with body image, prescription drugs

Shawn Johnson
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Shawn Johnson East, a 2008 Olympic gymnastics champion, detailed past struggles with body image and prescription drugs and reflected on her eating disorder as an elite athlete, to show there is hope to others in difficult situations.

“It all started with pregnancy and having my daughter,” East, who had daughter Drew in October, said on TODAY on Monday. “I had so many people asking me questions about how did pregnancy affect you mentally and how did you get your body back after having your daughter. I couldn’t answer that without giving a greater and a larger story.”

East first went public about her undiagnosed teenage eating disorders in 2015, three years after retiring from the sport. She said she limited herself to 700 calories per day and didn’t tell her parents.

In a June YouTube video, Johnson said she also binged and purged, including while dating future husband Andrew in the mid-2010s. And that she had depression and anxiety in 2011, when she returned to competition for the first time since the Beijing Games.

“I thought it would fix all of my problems,” East said of returning to gymnastics for a 2012 Olympic bid.

When East won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009, she “hit a very low spot” going through puberty on national TV. She said she gained 15 pounds after the 2008 Olympics and started taking medications and drugs “to look like I did at the Olympics.” It included fad diets, diuretics and a three-week stretch of eating nothing but raw vegetables.

“Most pain of my entire life because I couldn’t digest anything,” she said.

At some point in 2011, East began feeling burned out. She was back to eating too few calories and overtraining. An unnamed USA Gymnastics doctor prescribed her Adderall “to lose more weight, have more energy and be more successful in gymnastics.” She took “heavy doses.”

“It helped my performances, but there were massive consequences to it,” she said. “I continued to compete into 2012, where I just started to get depressed.

“I was overdosing on Adderall. I was overdosing on any medication that wouldn’t be caught by USADA.”

Adderall was a banned substance in competition without a therapeutic use exemption, but was legal outside of competition.

“I was so controlled by other people’s opinions that I wouldn’t live up to that Olympic standard that I did anything to get it back and I could never have it back,” East said. “I didn’t learn that until later on.”

East’s mental hurdles re-emerged when she had a miscarriage in 2017. She blamed herself, believing her unhealthy lifestyle in the past was a contributor.

“Our natural inclination is to say, what did I do? And what did I do wrong?” she said. “It haunted me. I felt like I had sacrificed everything for an Olympic medal to not actually get the dream I had wanted my entire life [to have a child].”

With the help of a nutritionist and therapist and her husband, she conquered the demons through her 2019 pregnancy and childbirth.

“Having gone through a whole pregnancy and knowing that I felt confident through the whole thing, I feel like I’ve climbed Everest,” she said.

MORE: Why Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson went 8 years without talking

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!