Nearly Three Years After Olympics, The Rio 2016 Organizing Committee’s Debt Load Has Tripled

The fallout from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro has continued years after the last games have ended. The debt incurred by the local Olympic organizing committee, Rio 2016, has now increased dramatically to more than three times its original estimate, according to a new report by Deadspin.

The debt was listed at $ 32 million in December 2016 and now, a little more than two years later, it has more than tripled to $ 113 million. The Brazilian government and the IOC have both refused to help the local organizing committee dispatch of its debts.

On top of that, the Rio organizing committee – which arguably shouldn’t even be in existence more than two years after the games have ended is facing nearly 600 lawsuits from its failure to pay suppliers and workers. Inside the Games reported that there are 258 civil lawsuits and 325 labor lawsuits ongoing. The Rio 2016 organizing committee is still made up of seven employees, even as we are less than a year away from turning the page to 2020.

Rio 2016 asked the International Olympic Committee for help in 2017 but the IOC refused. Much of the money still owed by the committee is due to suppliers like GL Events, who helped construct some of the venues used at the games. The Brazilian Olympic Committee is also among the organizing committee’s creditors.

In keeping up the global pageantry of the Olympics at any cost, Tokyo, who will be hosting the next Olympics, has also already gone far over budget in its own preparations. Some cities are reportedly refusing to host the games and some heads of sports federations have given interviews stating they’d rather work with dictators than deal with the bureaucracy of the Olympics. 

Former Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes denied last year that there were any debts left over from the Olympics and the Rio 2016 organizing committee has stressed the supposed “legacy benefits” from hosting the games.

As a reminder, here is what Rio looked like just one year after the Olympic games:

Like the rest of the world, Olympic committees constantly spend more than they can afford. And not unlike the global economy, one can’t help but wonder if the day will come for the Olympics when the charade ends and it’s finally time for someone to foot the bill. 


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