Today, Brazil’s economy is actually shrinking, their president is in the midst of an impeachment that will almost certainly end with her ouster and the World Cup featured a 7-1 loss that thoroughly demoralized a nation of 200 million people.
Now that Olympics is 40 days away, and the world views it less with anticipation than terror.
But all is not lost. In the interest of keeping athletes and fans excited for the coming competition (come on, they’re not canceling it), here’s a guide to viewing various Olympic problems as exciting Olympic possibilities.
What better incentive could there be to swim your absolute fastest than knowing that you could win a gold medal and avoid uncontrollably pooping yourself?
1. Mascot Murder
A cartoon jaguar named Ginga is the official mascot of the 2016 Olympics, so they brought an actual 17-year-old jaguar to the passing-of-the-Olympic-torch event. All went well until the jaguar escaped, leading to the horrifying discovery that Brazil had killed its own mascot after tranquilizers failed to knock it out.
On the upside: Brazil can present this as proof of their nation’s victory-at-all-costs attitude: “If we’ll do that to our own mascot, imagine what we’ll do to your team!”
2. A Wasted World Cup
It’s hard to argue much of the 2014 World Cup wasn’t a complete waste of money, since it included spending $550 million to build a stadium that wound up being used as a bus parking lot. Other projects weren’t completed at all: an intended 14-mile light railway track cost $800 million, yet only a half-mile had been completed by 2015. Many Brazilians are angry they have to bear the cost of another massive sporting event, particularly with reports of a woman giving birth on a Rio sidewalk after a hospital stopped admitting patients due to a funding shortage.
On the upside: Rio’s mayor has leapt to the defense of the Olympics, insisting it has done nothing to damage the Brazilian national economy. Also, he came up with a refreshingly honest new slogan for his community when he announced: “The city of Rio is a city with problems.”
3. Danger by Sea
The May 5, 2016 New York Times headline said it all: “Olympians Shouldn’t Swim Through Sewage.” The waters of Guanabara Bay and off Copacabana Beach have been known to produce diarrhea and vomiting in sailors. Presumably, it will be much worse for those actually required to be immersed for extended amounts of time in them.
On the upside: What better incentive could there be to swim your absolute fastest than knowing that you could win a gold medal and avoid uncontrollably pooping yourself?
4. Danger by Land
Athletes like golfer Rory McIlroy have begun to pull out of the Olympics over Zika. Even NBA star and two-time silver medalist Pau Gasol has noted that he if he does participate, he will likely first freeze his sperm.
On the upside: Gasol plays in a league with noted nut-buster Draymond Green—he should be freezing sperm regardless.
5. Additional Danger by Land
Even if you beat the sewage and the Zika, you may still be in trouble after reports of an Australian Paralympian being robbed. A training session for Liesl Tesch abruptly ended when an armed man demanded money and then shoved her off her bike and took it. (Tesch said several people watched but offered no assistance.)
On the upside: The Olympics are often cited as a chance to meet and bond with other Olympians from around the world. Rio will encourage this closeness to an unprecedented degree, since traveling in large groups will be key to survival.
6. One Grotesque Government
House speaker Eduardo Cunha has noted he will be “proud” if President Dilma Rouseff is booted from office. Sadly, his involvement in the impeachment will be limited as he’s facing expulsion for lying about hiding millions in foreign bank accounts. (Fun fact: Roughly 60 percent of Brazil’s congresspeople are facing their own criminal charges, including kidnapping and murder.)
On the upside: How lucky is this guy—he’s got the time and the money to watch the 2016 Olympics!
7. Mixed Messages
Brazilian soccer legend Pele reportedly broke down with tears of joy when Brazil won the right to host the Olympics. Fellow Brazilian legend Rivaldo has had a different reaction: “I advise everyone with plans to visit Brazil for the Olympics in Rio—to stay home. You’ll be putting your life at risk here.” Also: “Only God can change the situation in our Brazil.”
On the upside: Relax—with Rio’s crooks busy robbing Olympic athletes and its frequently corrupt police occupied shooting mascots, the region will be perfectly safe for tourists. Finque tranquilo!