Armed with compelling evidence of systematic doping by Russian athletes with complicity of that country's government, the IOC took the unprecedented step this week of holding in abeyance all Russian athletes' eligibility for the Rio Olympics pending clearance by each athletes' international sport federation (IF). In doing so, the IOC tossed the eligibility question vis-a-vis doping to the IFs, which must conduct a thorough vetting of each Russian athlete. And, oh, by the way, the Olympics begin on Aug. 5.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Photo credit: Michele Mariani
Friday, July 15, 2016
- Rio de Janeiro translates to "River of January"
- Nicknamed "Cidade Maravilhosa" (Marvelous City)
- Locals refer to themselves as "carioca"
- Rio's population is 7 million (14 million in the metro area), making it the second largest city in Brazil, after Sao Paulo
- More tourists visit Rio than any other Brazilian city
- From 1815 to 1822, Rio was the capital of the Portuguese Empire, and from 1763 to 1960, served as the nation's capital (now Brasilia)
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Among other things, Rio is world-famous for its pristine white-sand beaches, the most well-known of which are Ipanema and Copacabana, probably owing to a couple of catchy tunes of yesteryear (although the song about the latter was really about a NYC nightclub).
An excellent a cappella version of "Girl from Ipanema" was posted previously, and Barry Manilow's disco-era "Copacabana" can be recalled here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pth79-bpgGs Stuck in the shadows of these two iconic beaches, however, is Leblon, situated on the western stretch of Ipanema and separated by an almost unnoticeable canal leading to a lagoon in Zona Sul. Alas, Leblon awaits its song.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
After a 112-year hiatus, golf won a hard-fought battle to rejoin the Olympic program for 2016, obligating Rio to build at great social, environmental, and economic cost a new golf course in the city's western suburb. Now that the pristine 71-par, 7,350-yard course is completed, however, 17 (to date) of the world's premier golfers, including the top-four men in international rankings, have opted out of the Olympics for various reasons. While this development amounts to egg-on-the-face for the International Golf Federation that lobbied for the sport's inclusion and the IOC that voted to reinstate golf to the Olympic program, the group left holding the bag are the people of Rio, who sacrificed some of region's most valuable land in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood for a sport that is culturally foreign and financially inaccessible to most Brazilians.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Another tradition of the CISB Seminar Abroad Program is to engage in community service in the host country. For this trip our delegation, led by rising seniors Paul Harris and Paul St. Pierre, made arrangements with a local NGO -- Project Favela -- to help set up mosquito nets for families in underprivileged communities. To help defray the costs of acquiring nets and supplies to take to Rio, the WNE Alumni Association responded to the students' request for assistance with a generous grant. Muito obrigado to the AA of WNE!
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Per custom, each CISB Seminar Abroad creates its own distinctive t-shirts to commemorate the trip, and one of this year's designs features President Anthony Caprio in an Obama-esque poster style with a clever play on his name. Kudos to Emily Painter '18, who produced the design effect!
Saturday, July 9, 2016
From the 2014 FIFA World Cup at Rio's famed Maracana Stadium, these WNE students exhorted the next class of students to sign up for the CISB Seminar Abroad Series, which is the first back-to-back program returning to the same city...although for a different event and with a completely different crew of students!
Despite the deluge of negative press and other sour media accounts of Rio's challenges to hosting the Olympic Games less than a month away, The Wall Street Journal's Will Connors takes a sunnier view of things in his article, "An Optimist's Guide to the Rio Olympics."
Connors makes the point that Rio has hosted the Pan American Games in 2007, FIFA World Cup Final in 2014, the annual Carnaval and New Year's celebrations, in addition to hosting numerous global meetings, conferences, and summits. Importantly, he says that public transportation is working, which will be something of a miracle during the Olympics in chronic traffic-congested Rio de Janeiro. The writer declares that "The city is as beautiful as ever" and that "Rio's beaches, mountains and forests will dazzle tourists and athletes alike."
Western New England students will judge for themselves, but hopefully Connors is on to something that Olympic organizers have done a great job of keeping under wraps!
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Rio and its Olympic Organizing Committee must feel that it cannot catch a break. Last week, police and firefighters took to Rio's Galeão Airport to vent their anger against the government for being late with their paychecks, some not being paid for months. In an apparently effective campaign to bring media attention to their plight by demonstrating amid arriving tourists, this week Brazil's Federal Government authorized $895M in loans to help state and local officials ensure security for the Games, including budget relief to pay first responders. As was the case for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, however, security will be a major presence throughout Rio during the time of the Olympic Games with 85,000 soldiers and police on duty, twice the number of London's 2012 Olympics. While no country is immune from assault and no city can guarantee the safety of its residents and visitors, it has been said that an Olympic host city is one of the safest places on the planet during the time of the Games.