Despite the Olympic successes of Britain’s athletes, I think it’s fair to say that Rio 2016 has been a bit underwhelming so far. It hasn’t been disappointing in the sense of the athletic performances but the atmosphere has been flat and the pre-Games problems are still omnipresent.
For an event that drew in mass protests from local people and which faced scrutiny for its huge over-spending you would expect the organisers to be intent on proving the doubters wrong. This really hasn’t been the case one week after the opening ceremony. It’s difficult to get a sense of presence when there are so many empty seats on show at the events. The Olympics is meant to be the biggest sporting event on the planet so why aren’t people flocking to see it? This is a stark contrast to the scenes we witnessed at London 2012 and even more recently at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The only event I attended at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games was the Rugby Sevens at Ibrox and whilst I cheered on Sevens Team GB from my living room this week I felt bad for the athletes competing. From looking at the crowd you could almost say that there were more people on the pitch than in the stands, which was a huge difference to the atmosphere I experienced in 2014. A full house at Ibrox really helped to showcase the Games to those at home and really made a difference for the athletes competing. The biggest memory of 2014 for me was 40,000 Glaswegians chanting and cheering on Uganda as they got their first win and it’s moments like this that really embody the spirit of the Games.
Rio’s organisers haven’t enjoyed the greatest publicity so far and they need to find a way to rectify this, otherwise these Games will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. They swiftly need to find a way to engage locals more and get them involved with the spirit of the Olympic Games, whether this be through cheaper tickets or free tickets. The legacy and reputation of Rio 2016 is at stake
Euan Stirling is a Social Media Executive at Indigo