Rio de Janeiro pulled off the 2016 Summer Olympics, keeping crime at bay and fending off doomsday forecasts of corruption, environmental degradation, and cost overruns, to no avail. For all the positives to the city from hosting the games, six months’ worth of bills are piling up. 


Photo: AP Photo / Silvia Izquierdo

Brazil Maracara Stad Aftermath - The Maracaná Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, site of the 2016 Summer Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, is the target of vandals Feb. 2 while Olympic organizers, Rio state government officials and stadium operators disagree regarding $1 million in bills.

Rio organizers still owe creditors about $40 million. Four of the new arenas in the main Olympic Park have failed to find private management, and ownership has passed to the federal government.

Another new arena will be run by the cash-strapped city with Brazil dealing with its deepest recession in decades. The historic Maracaná Stadium, site of the opening and closing ceremony, has been vandalized and is without power as stadium operators, the Rio state government, and Olympic organizers fight over $1 million in unpaid electricity bills.

There are few interested parties for a new, $20 million Olympic golf course, and little money for maintenance. Deodoro, the second-largest cluster of Olympic venues, is closed and searching for a management company.

The state of Rio de Janeiro is months behind in paying teachers, hospital workers, and pensions.

The state also reports record-breaking crime in 2016 in almost all categories from homicides to robbery.

“During the Olympics, the city was really trying hard to keep things together," said Oliver Stuenkel, a Brazilian who teaches international relations at Getulio Vargas Foundation, a Brazilian university. “But the minute the Olympics were over, the whole thing disintegrated.” Some building projects related to the Olympics and World Cup have been tied to a probe which has led to the jailing of dozens of politicians and businessmen for receiving kickbacks in Brazil’s largest corruption scandal.

“The Olympics gave people a better sense of the difficulties Brazil faces," Stuenkel said. “Maybe not a better or worse image, but more rounded.”