This Brazilian public does not deserve the Olympics

The Brazilian public is failing. It has no apparent understanding of the celebration of endeavour that the Olympics is supposed to be. They have little concept of “fair play”. The booing of competitors by the Brazilian public is a real stain on the Rio Olympics. They booed some teams at the opening ceremony. They booed the Swedish women’s football team last night when they beat Brazil on penalties. They booed Matt Kuchar in the golf tournament.

They booed at every event. They booed athletes, cyclists, boxers, swimmers – and any opponent of a Brazilian competitor in any sport.

Maybe the Olympics have cost too much. Maybe the handling of the green diving pool was proof of incompetence. No doubt the Olympics as an organisation is endemically corrupt. Retroactive penalties for alleged doping in the 2008 games is childish. Russian doping may be widespread but there is no justification for collective punishment. But the audience also has standards to meet.

The Olympics should be about endeavour and not just results.

But the Brazilian public have been contemptuous about endeavour. Booing a runner who came last in her heat as she struggled across the finish line after achieving the best time of her career was beyond the pale.

I have been to Brazil many times and the hospitality and friendliness is out of this world. Notwithstanding the street crime in Rio and Sao Paolo which is nasty and brutish. But this Brazilian public has proven to be immature, with little appreciation of “fair play” and have not lived up to my expectations. Every Russian participant was booed. They even booed the French pole vaulter because he was beaten to gold by a Brazilian. The Brazilian public shamed themselves.

They have not been an audience deserving of  the Olympics.


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