The impact of Megaevents in Brazil, from World Cup to Olympics

Yesterday ten thousands of Germans celebrated their victory over Argentina. It was the last in a row of games and massive excitement, the finals of the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. It brings an end to a much disputed event. Now that it is over, all eyes are already on the next event. The day of the finals it was the headline of the Brazilian newspaper Globo: “Faltam 754 dias para as Olimpíadas”, only 754 days till the Olympic Games start.

It is widely known that many Brazilians were not happy with the World Cup coming to Brazil. They generally love football just as much as their rice and beans, but the fact that the spendings on infrastructure and stadia went through the roof and the way FIFA and probably many politicians profited from the event is a bitter pill to swallow for most Brazilians. They saw government money being wasted on a stadium in Manaus while they cry out for healthcare and education. On top of that there was a wave of human rights violation scandals that angered the already annoyed crowd.

Click here to be linked to another blog with a wide variety of articles and videos on the subject.

So what am I saying? Was the World Cup a disgrace and should we protest against the Olympic games with signs saying “No vai ter Copa Olimpíades”? No, my point here is that I feel there is very little reflection on the past mega event, while we are running towards the next. At least let us take a few moments to evaluate, to learn from our mistakes and identify our successes. There are now only 753 days left till the Olympic Games, and there is a lot to be done. Some things will make the deadline, others will inevitably fail. Nevertheless, there is a huge momentum and the result is purely dependent on the priorities that will be set the coming year. It is now time to look at the World Cup event and think about how the next mega event can be better; more sustainable, wiser, more respectful.

Which lessons should be drawn from the World Cup and other previous mega events? What are the main dangers for the Olympic Games and how could they be prevented? Share your opinion underneath!


  1. Denise Batista says:

    As críticas em relação à Copa, como você citou, a falta de investimento em educação e saúde vão se repetir para as Olimpíadas. Mas acho que o assunto vai um pouco mais além do que isso. Saúde e educação fogem um pouco do escopo da Copa em si, e no caso das Olimpíadas o que se propõe é deixar um legado para a sociedade. Em Turismo há uma máxima que fala: “o que é bom para o turista é bom para a população”. Acho que é exatamente isso que falta nos investimentos feitos aqui no Brasil, a preocupação com uma melhoria na infra estrutura básica.
    A solução para o nosso trânsito caótico não foi investir em transporte de massa, mas sim tirar a população das ruas criando feriados. A criação das UPPs trouxe uma melhoria simbólica para a população das favelas e entornos (aumentou o valor de mercado de muitos apartamentos da zona sul e tijuca, e deu uma falsa sensação de segurança) no entanto, vê-se o problema sendo passado para outras áreas da cidade ou do estado que antes não tinham o problema do tráfico de drogas e assaltos. Não foi pensado em atacar a verdadeira raiz do problema, o que traria benefícios a longo prazo. É só lembrar da volta dos arrastões nas praias do Rio no verão passado.
    Acredito que uma gestão participativa da prefeitura poderia trazer à tona soluções inteligentes, tentando ouvir a população de cada área. O Rio tem pequenos pólos criativos que poderiam criar medidas que solucionassem problemas pontualmente, mas que até as olimpíadas poderiam se tornar grandes soluções.
    No início do projeto Porto Maravilha, a prefeitura tentou se aproximar da população das adjacências da praça mauá, mas não tenho visto mais nenhum esforço em manter as ações iniciadas.

  2. Hi Denise, thank you for your reaction. You make some really good points! You are saying that most investments in security and transport so far are short-term and do not address the root of the problem; giving people holidays on which they don’t have to use the transport and allowing the drug trafficking to simply move to other neighborhoods are no real solutions. See also my other post ‘Sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro’ about this trend of short-term solution thinking. I really like what you write about participatory management. I think the best solutions often come from the people experiencing the problem, which means it is essential to include these people or at least their input in the decision making process.

  3. Danilo Eccard says:

    Nice words, Anne. You certainly knew how to capture the status quo during the World Cup in Brazil. Me myself, as lots of others Brazilians, was against world cup. Unfortunately, the only thing I could do was protesting against it, but always being suppressed aggressively by police. Denise said right, brazilian people don’t want more stadium and cups… of course it helped the economy and all that stuff, but brazilian people don’t see it, that’s very frustrating because only corrupt politicians gain money with this.
    The Olympics will be the very same, there will be parties, nice games to watch, but at the end poor brazilian people will continue dying in hospitals, by crime, by drugs

    • Yes that is the sad truth Danilo, and that’s why it is important like you do to voice your protest. I understand why this makes people sad, but I think it is also important to think constructively and not keep our heads down in despair. What can be done to better the situation? Cause especially around the occurrence of a mega events there is a huge momentum. A momentum that can catalyze change; A sudden increase in media attention, international attention for national issues, a huge bulk of money that is spend for the good and the bad. During these times it is as if society is exposed and the errors in the system become utterly clear. Also the money is theoretically available to use it wisely. It is a pity to let this momentum slip without reflection. We should try to learn. Not just for the organizers of the event, also the protesters can think about how to maximize their impact next time.

  4. This is a great article, a good perspective on the last World Cup

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