Government Threw the Party; Taxpayers Pay the Bill
(p. A1) RIO DE JANEIRO -- It is not uncommon for the Olympics to leave behind some unneeded facilities. Rio, however, is experiencing something exceptional: Less than six months after the Summer Games ended, the host city's Olympic legacy is decaying rapidly.
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"The government put sugar in our mouths and took it out before we could swallow," Luciana Oliveira Pimentel, a social worker from Deodoro, said as her children played in a plastic pool. "Once the Olympics ended, they turned their backs on us."
Olympic officials and local organizers often boast about the legacy of the Games -- the residual benefits that a city and country will experience long after the competitions end. Those projections are often met with skepticism by the public and by independent economists, who argue that Olympic bids are built on wasted public money. Rio has quickly become the latest, and perhaps the most striking, case of (p. A8) unfulfilled promises and abandonment.
"It's totally deserted," said Vera Hickmann, 42, who was at the Olympic Park recently with her family. She lamented that although the area was open to the public, it lacked basic services.
"I had to bring my son over to the plants to go to the bathroom," she said.
At the athletes' village, across the street from the park, the 31 towers were supposed to be sold as luxury condominiums after the Games, but fewer than 10 percent of the units have been sold. Across town at Maracanã Stadium, a soccer temple, the field is brown, and the electricity has been shut off.
"The government didn't have money to throw a party like that, and we're the ones who have to sacrifice," Ms. Hickmann said, referring to local taxpayers.
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(Note: the online version of the story has the date FEB. 15, 2017.)