The International Olympic Committee Must Change the Bid Process to Stop Fiascos Like Guanabara Bay


You’ve have a history of awarding the Olympics to cities who proposed, and held, the sailing portion of the Olympics in sewer water exposing the athletes to disease (1992 Barcelona, Spain; 2008 Qingdao, China; 2016 Rio, Brazil).  It is time for you to change your standards in what the requirements are of a bid city water quality for all water sports.

Selecting sites for the Olympics / Paralympics must include the purity of water, as the Olympics / Paralympics itself is to be pure competition.  It is time to establish the standards for water quality that must be met at the time that bids are submitted, not some promise of what the water quality might porjected to be at the time of the opening ceremonies.  One person reported that Guanabara Bay water quality, as disgusting as it is, is actually cleaner than the water when the Olympics / Paralympics were held in Qingdoa, China.  This must end now, and for the future.

And this change must apply to all water sports – sailing, rowing, and swimming events.

City bid documents have been called “fiction.”  Rio de Janeiro promised in their bid document to have the water cleaned 80% by the opening ceremony.  Now that reality is published, the number of improvements have been modest at best, a bankruptcy, money, corruption, lack of political will, finger pointing, blaming all roll up into waters that are not ready to host the Olympics in 2016.

There have been calls for the sailing venue to be moved, that it is now a “game of chance” due to the random trash in the water getting caught on boats slowing them down or capsizing them stopping them in competition.  One writer has called for a boycott of the Olympics due to the horrible conditions in Guanabara Bay.

The rowing events in a different body of water in Rio has water quality issues.  The open water swimming events in another body of water are struggling with water quality issues.  Admit it, this is a major failure in the way bids are done, because there must be a guarantee of fair and safe facilites.  And the only way to guarantee this is to make it happen up front, not on some promise in the future.

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