An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide watched the 2016 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony which took place in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium, only to then watch the more than facility fall into dilapidation and disrepair post-Olympics. We also reported earlier this year how the Olympic Aquatic Stadium, home to the competitive pool events, now rests empty, decaying and in a state of utter disrepair, despite Rio organizers’ original plans for the pool to be dismantled and repurposed.
Going on a year now removed from the Olympic Games, another potential legacy has been lost, as the ‘Seeds of Hope’ initiative has fallen by the wayside. In Rio organizers’ original plans, thousands of seedlings were to be planted post-Games to help offset the environmental impact of hosting the Olympics. A ceremonial year-after event was pitched to happen in the Summer or Fall of 2017 to commemorate the planting, yet nothing has been planned to date. (ESPN)
Per Brazil’s Federal Court of Audit, TCU, the nation’s government and spending watchdog, the seedlings remain in planting pots on a farm more than 100km from Rio, with their caretaker watching over them for free. Per TCU, Rio’s mayor blames the Olympic organizers, while the organizers blame the government, which renders the planting situation unresolved. Additionally, even the plants and trees that were part of Olympic Park are dying from lack of maintenance and irrigation. (ESPN)
“The planting of the 12,000 seedlings in the [Olympic] park is only a memory of a beautiful image in the Opening Ceremony,” the recently-released TCU report said. “The Rio 2016 committee made a promise to the world and has now been linked, morally, to this duty. To not plant the seeds would cause significant damage to the country’s image.”