TRU profs discuss Rio legacy

It could be a decade before Rio de Janeiro knows if it has a parade of white elephants on its hands

Adam Williams – Kamloops This Week

It could be a decade before Rio de Janeiro knows if it has a parade of white elephants on its hands.

Until then, Anne Terwiel said Brazil will be left to wait and see.

Terwiel, the chair of the tourism management department at Thompson Rivers University, said her research has shown white elephants — a term used to describe a facility that is useless or problematic, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of — don’t often surface until years after the Olympics have concluded.

“They’ll have a legacy. Whether it’s positive or negative is the question, right?”

Terwiel’s research has analyzed the legacies left by the Games in each host city since 2008 and white elephants aren’t altogether uncommon in the realm of the Olympics, she said.

In China, the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, requires millions of dollars a year for upkeep and has sat mostly empty since the 2008 Olympics.

But there are examples of well-used facilities following Games, too.

Vancouver, Sydney and London have repurposed stadiums following the Olympics, facilities which are constantly in use. Many of the Olympic facilities in Rio had already been used to host both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 Pan American Games.

“I wouldn’t want to comment,” she said, asked specifically about Rio’s legacy. “Although, I would say that a number of the facilities that are being utilized for the Olympic Games were built for the FIFA World Cup, as well — so they’ve already hosted one large event.

There has been plenty of criticism of Rio, its planning and its organization. But Terwiel said people shouldn’t be so quick to judge the Brazilian city.

“I think you need to give a place the chance to be successful,” she said.

“Beyond the stadiums, there’s often improvement in transportation, improvement in communication systems, that sort of thing, and those are hard to measure, but they make a huge difference for the people who are living there, in the end.”

Not everyone’s outlook on Rio is as optimistic as Terwiel’s, however.

Dr. Ryan Gauthier, an associate professor in the faculty of law at TRU, is skeptical of what the future holds for life in Rio after the Olympics.

“Rio is really tricky because of the problems with the government, with the dysfunction there, with the economy tanking,” said Gauthier, who did his PhD research on the accountability of the International Olympic Committee for human rights violations caused by the organization of the Games.

“What’s this going to mean for the future? I think all the disorder and the problems you’ve been seeing leading up to the Games, it’s just going to be more of that. There will be a few good things for Rio, some better transportation here and there, some better housing, possibly, here and there.

“I would be surprised to see a really positive legacy coming from this.”

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: Police nab suspect who escaped arrest

Man described to have several tattoos and is wearing dark pinstriped ‎pajama-style pants

West Fraser announces the permanent closure of Chasm sawmill

The third shift for the 100 Mile House location will also be eliminated

Winter Waterfalls project brings 7,500 visitors

Pilot project offered a unique waterfall viewing experience

The importance of cleaning your hummingbird feeder

Feeders need to be thoroughly cleaned at least every three days in hot weather

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read