The first weekend of the 2016 Summer Olympics went by without a hitch, and with any luck, that will continue over the next several weeks.
“It’s been good,” USA Today sportswriter and broadcaster Martin Rogers said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It’s different to be in a city at an Olympic time than it would be at any other time. The Olympics tends to kind of take everything over and it’s pretty much all-consuming. It has been good. Everyone spoke about the Zika virus beforehand and fears of mosquito bites and so on. I haven’t seen one mosquito the whole time. I think what we have said all along (is true). The fact that there’s slightly cooler temperatures during winter time, you don’t see so many mosquitoes this time a year.”
Rogers has also been impressed with the Brazilians, who, by and large, have been wonderful hosts.
“The Brazilian people are really the stars of the show for me,” he said. “Very welcoming and really sort of impressing everyone who came here, whether it be as media or as tourists to watch the Games. It’s a different kind of Olympics. It’s a less lavish Olympics than previous ones. Brazil is in the midst of a deep recession and hasn’t had the money to spend like China did eight years ago or London did four years ago. But it’s on course to be, I think, a good Olympics against all expectations.”
There are, of course, natives who are angered by the plight of their country and view the Olympics as a distraction from fixing systemic problems.
“There were some protests on the night of the Opening Ceremony. I’m sure there will be more,” Rogers said. “It’s a huge city, though, so protests can be taking place in one part of the city and you can be somewhere else and watching the Olympic events and really have no idea that is going on. But we’ll see how that develops. I think the Brazilian people are starting to maybe come around to these Olympics and starting to realize the next couple of weeks are something they can enjoy. But there are still very serious social problems here that shouldn’t be forgotten. I feel like maybe toward the end of the games there may be more disgruntlement. It should be seen and it should be heard. If you’re watching NBC, not only won’t you see or hear about it, if you do hear about it, it’ll probably be on tape delay.”