An Ominous Start to the Rio Olympics

June 22, 2016 - John Heilemann and Mark Halperin 06/22/2016 Views: 26,467

Just ahead of the Olympics, host city Rio de Janeiro faces violent crime, a Zika epidemic, a recession and the death of the Games' jaguar mascot. (5:24)

Watch Full Episode

Usually, you hear about athletes

struggling to get readyfor the Olympics.

This year is different, though.

It's the host citythat might not make it.

Rio has seen a whole lotof problems in recent months,

as officials scramble to getready to kick off the Olympics.

You have a political crisis,you have the Zika virus,

as you mentioned, you havewater pollution issues...

It's the only countrywe could find

that will bein a full-blown recession

while hosting the Olympic Games.

Aw, man,a "full-blown recession."

You know,"full-blown" never comes

-before anything good.-(laughter)

Like, that's a phrasethat's only used for bad things.

No one's ever like,"Honey, good news!

My boss gave mea full-blown raise!"

Like, people,at what point does Rio admit

that this whole Olympics thingisn't a good idea?

You know, Rio right now is like

that one friendwho you hang out with,

and no matterhow bad things get for them,

they just refuseto call it quits.

You know?They're partying, it's late,

they lost their wallet, droppedtheir phone in the toilet

while they were puking,and still Rio's going,

"Yo, whereare we heading next?!"

And it's like,"No, Rio, you're a mess.

It's time to hang it up."

Seriously, Rio, how can youcarry on with the Olympics

when we keephearing news like this?

We saw how a gun gang fightbroke out in one hospital

over the weekend that's supposedto be servicing guests

for the Olympics.

Two members of the AustralianParalympic team

are recovering this morning after being robbed at gunpoint

near their hotel in Rio.

Seriously, Rio?

You're robbing Paralympians?


Although, to be fair,

if you look closely at the logofor the Rio Olympics,

it does kind of look likethe green guy and the blue guy

are stealing the prostheticlimbs off the yellow...

So we were warned, people.We were warned.

Oh, and, uh, oh,and speaking of being warned.

Uh, hey, criminals in Rio,

Paralympians might seem like easy targets,

but don't forget,this guy killed his girlfriend

just for using the bathroom,so, uh...

-(laughter, groaning)-you probably want to watch it.

Oh, really? You're gonna "aw"a disabled person?

You gonna "aw"a disabled person?

Now, look, Rio,I know you desperately want

to host this party,but what's the point of a party

if nobody wants to come?

Some athletes have decidedto skip the Rio Olympics,

including American cyclist Tejay van Garderen.

Russell Westbrook,James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge

and Steph Curry all announcingthey will skip the Olympics.

You can add Rory McIlroyto the list...

Now the word is, too,that LeBron James is saying

"I don't think I want to go."

The Zika virus has Chicago Bulls star,

Pau Gasol, thinking ahead.

Pau Gasol has not decided if he'll play for Spain,

but if he does, he says he'll consider freezing his sperm.

Yeah, ge... that's genius.That is genius.

You freeze your spermin case you get Zika.

Yeah. Although,a word of advice to everyone

who's considering that--uh, don't store your sperm

in a freezer in an empty tubof vanilla ice cream.

Uh, especiallyif you have a roommate.

Yes. Um, it's been ten years,Dave-- get over it.

-(laughter) -Get over it.I still want my tub back.

Um, at this point,the only thing the Rio games

have going for themis that cute jaguar

that they have as a mascot.

Now, why would I mention that?

Now to a strange eventtied to the Olympics.

A jaguar was shot deadafter it escaped its handlers

in Brazil shortlyafter it posed for photographs

with the Olympic torch.

Military officials tried to recapture her,

but when Juma lunged at a soldier,

she was shot with a pistol.

-What?-(audience aw'ing)

That's so insane.

The mascot of the Rio Olympicswas shot dead.

Yeah. Onlookers called it "anunspeakable act of metaphor."

-(laughter)-It was just...

I mean, goddamn it, people,you know,

can we just go one weekwithout executing

an beautiful, exotic animal?

You know? That jaguar'sgonna go up to animal heaven,

and Harambe the gorillawill be waiting up there like,


"Mother (bleep)got you, too, huh?


Well, technically,'cause it's Harambe,

it's an African name,so it should be like,

(African accent):"Aw, damn, those mother (bleep)

-got you, too, huh? Damn!"-(laughter)

Yeah. Here's my question.

Even without the crime,the Zika, the pollution,

why did Rio even want to hostthe Olympics?

NEWSMAN: In recent years, cities hosting the games

have faced billions of dollars in cost overruns,

leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.

They rarely ever turn a profit for the host city.

London and Beijing actually saw tourism decline

during the month they hosted the Olympics.

I never get this logic.I never get this logic.

I know you wantto increase tourism, right?

But the Olympics isgonna cost Rio $11 billion.

You do realize, for that moneyyou could give a random tourist

$1 million every single dayfor the next 30 years.

You could do that, you couldjust give them $1 million.

And do you know how much tourismthat would generate?

I mean, think about it.

Yeah. Everyone would wantto go to Brazil,

'cause you could geta million dollars every day.

In fact, you could haveZika-infested mosquitos

mugging people at the airport,and still, people would be like,

"Brazil, here I come...!"

Look, at the end of the day,people, hosting the Olympics

is way too much work.

You're never fully prepared,you spend a fortune to buy

all the stuff thatyou'll only use for a month,

everyone has opinions on howyou're supposed to be doing...

Basically,it's like having a kid.

Yeah. Especially becauseonce you've done it,

you have to pretend that itwas a really great idea. Yeah.

Oh, I was glad I had myOlympics. You guys should, too.

You should too.Rio, stop that! Stop that!

We made a big mistake.