Why Winning A Gold Medal In The 2016 Rio Olympics May Not Be As Big Of A Deal

IMHO, the problems surrounding the upcoming Olympic Games are not exactly boosting athletes’ morale.

Cover image via SAYS

There is less than 24 hours until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro!

Image via Getty Images

It will be another grand event where more than 10,500 athletes are expected to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil which begins today, 5 August.

The Olympic Games is considered to be the world's top sporting event as more than 200 nations compete to be the best.

Titles from the Olympic Games are extremely valuable and winners are considered to the greatest in a particular sport.

However, there seems to be little excitement for the international sporting event as the infrastructure of the Games and safety of Rio continue to give doubts to athletes and fans alike

A host of problems has preceded the opening of the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

There were ongoing fears about the Olympic constructions. Just a few weeks ago, Daily Mail UK revealed that venues were far from ready.

After frequent delays and skyrocketing costs have created doubts, Rio's new subway line is finally up and running, just a few days before the Games.

There was also a controversy surrounding the Olympic Games back in June, when a jaguar was shot and killed with a single gunshot after it escaped from its handlers shortly after it was paraded for the Olympic Flame torch relay event.

New Zealand jiu-jitsu athlete Jason Lee even claimed that he was "kidnapped" by men dressed as police and forced at gunpoint to withdraw money from two ATMS in Rio de Janeiro on 23 July.

Perhaps these incidents have dampened the excitement of the 3.6 billion audiences worldwide who are expected to tune into the Games.

The never-ending controversies surrounding the Games has greatly affected the sporting event’s esteem.

Consequently, it seems as if winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games has also lost its significance, with the addition of the following factors:

1. Top athletes have pulled out from Rio Olympic Games, so the competition between athletes may not be as intense "as it should be"

NBA superstar player LeBron James

Image via Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports

Although competing in the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, many of the world's best athletes have chosen to drop out from the Games this time.

LeBron James, as well as Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis and James Harden, are among the string of NBA superstars who will not be competing in the Games.

Golfers are not keen to seize such an exclusive opportunity to compete for the prestigious title, even when golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904. More than 14 male golfers, including the four top seeds, have pulled out of the Rio Olympic Games.

Image via Getty Images

There are more who have withdrawn from Olympic Games this year due to various reasons; however, the Zika virus has emerged as the primary reason why many athletes have backed out.

Many sportsmen and sportswomen have cited that health is their top priority, and it is not worth risking their health for Olympic glory as the virus is a serious concern ever since the outbreak began in April 2015 in Brazil.

2. Some athletes may NOT be performing at their best because of illness

A doll’s head and plastics among the rubbish and untreated sewage in the waters of Guanabara Bay.

Image via Barbara Walton/EPA

The Associated Press warns that more than 1,400 athletes in the water competitions are at risk of getting "violently ill" following a 16-month long study.

The study revealed that waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria.

Athletes who had been training in Rio had reportedly fallen ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

3. Those who are allegedly involved in doping cases are still participating in the Games

Russian Olympians attend their welcome ceremony for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Athletes Village on Wednesday, 3 August.

Image via Credit David Ramos/Getty Images

A report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently confirmed that there is indeed a complex system of state-sponsored doping program involving Russia.

The report stated that the scheme was directed by the country's sports authorities to cover up doping across a "vast majority" of winter and summer sports, CNN reported.

Following the incident, many anti-doping officials had called for a ban on the entire Russian team but the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) has decided to allow 271 Russian athletes to compete in the Rio Olympics. This means that Russia will now send only 70% of its national team, 118 fewer than the country had hoped to enter.

USADA chief Travis Tygart

Image via Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

The IOC's final decision came as a disappointment to many, particularly The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

"In response to the most important moment for clean athletes and the integrity of the Olympic Games, the IOC has refused to take decisive leadership. The decision regarding Russian participation and the confusing mess left in its wake is a significant blow to the rights of clean athletes," USADA chief Travis Tygart said in a statement.

4. Fans will not be there to cheer on their favourite athlete

The number of homicides in Rio state was up 15% in the first four months of 2016 compared with last year, although the figure dipped in May. Street robbery climbed 24% this year, according to the latest statistics, which run through April.

And last month, the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in a Rio favela made headlines in Brazil and around the world.

Authorities insist that the Olympic Games will be safe for visitors, with 85,000 armed soldiers and police officers guarding Rio’s streets.

There were plenty of empty seats as the women’s football tournament kicked off at the Olympic Stadium in Rio.

Image via Patrick Smith/Getty Images

However, it is said that the rising crime rate is likely to have a chilling effect on ticket sales.

Two days ago, Reuters reported that 1.3 million tickets remained unsold for the games, an indication that spectator demand for Rio has lagged behind previous events.

The Guardian has also reported that the organising committee has decided to give away tickets to 240,000 underprivileged schoolchildren, in a desperate attempt to fill up the Olympic venues in Rio.

Having said that, we definitely shouldn't undermine the efforts and achievements of the fellow Olympians who have excelled in their respective sports to have come this far. All the best!

Image via Giphy

This story is the personal opinion of the writer.
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We fully support all these top Malaysian athletes who will be representing the nation during the Rio Games!

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