The Rio Olympics is Brazil’s Reward for Trusting in Socialism

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As Rio de Janeiro rings in its tenure as host city to the Summer Olympics with street violence, deadly pollution, jihadist threats, incomplete facilities, and a plague, many around the world are wondering: who thought the embattled Brazilian city would be a good host for anything of this magnitude? The Summer Olympics is the second major global sporting event Brazil clinched hosting duties for under the rule of the socialist Workers’ Party (PT) – and its founder, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – two years after its surprisingly uneventful run as hosts of the FIFA World Cup. Brazil winning World Cup hosting duties made sense; it was the only candidate. The Olympic bid, however, was a competitive one, with highly developed cities like Madrid and Chicago making the case that they were safer, better-prepared venues for such an event. The IOC chose Brazil at a time in which the nation had swung radically left, and comments by IOC officials at the time indicate that they were more interested in rewarding Brazil for making Lula their head of state than rewarding the nation with the best bid to host the Olympic Games. At the time of Rio’s winning Olympic bid, International Olympic Committee (IOC)