For every Michael Phelps, there's an overflowing toilet. For every Katie Ledecky, there's a feces-infused stream of water. For every Fiji gold medal-favorite rugby team, someone gets assaulted in the streets. For every Simone Biles there's a commercial-filled telecast loaded with inane commentary. And for every shirtless, oiled, six-pack-sporting, tae kwon do guy from Tonga, there's a hypocritical sermon about global warming and arrogant boasts about the genesis of man-made flight.
The Games of the XXXI Olympiad use the shiny veneer of spectacle to hide Rio's depressingly bad state. And what a spectacle it is.
The Games began Friday with NBC's tape-delayed opening ceremony-- a subpar ratings, commercial-laden, insipid commentary-spewing, grand-scale illusion that a city with rampant crime, poverty, and filth eschews all that's right with the world.
In fact, Rio used the opening ceremony to lecture us about the dangers of "climate change." As if anyone should take seriously a presentation about the environment from a country filled with more fecal matter than Kobayashi after a hot dog eating contest.
Maybe the next time, the International Olympic Committee can award the Games to Syria where the opening ceremony will be a celebration of women and tolerance.
Rio also used their platform to inform us that a Brazilian named Alberto Santos Dumont invented, built, and flew the world's first successful airplane. And to think for 113 years we all thought it was the Wright Brothers. Fun Fact: Brazil landed men on the moon before Apollo XI, but cultural bias ignored the accomplishment.
Rio, where the stench of corruption and gumption flows like suntan oil at Ipanema Beach.
It's surprising Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado hasn't pulled in those outstretched arms and covered his eyes.
The Games are supposed to be about sportsmanship, patriotic pride, and human achievement. Yet the athletes who work endless hours in pursuit of greatness have been displaying that greatness in half-empty venues.
People in Rio face a choice between feeding their families or paying for an overpriced ticket to enter a building for which their government sold them out.
The infrastructure improvements promised to Rio, you know, the one's to bolster tourism and boost the economy, have gone mainly to a suburb of the super rich, southwest of town.
The mayor of Rio promised more than a million free tickets. So far he's offered up fewer than 50,000.
THAT is why the venues are half empty.
But the Brazilians who HAVE made it to the events have displayed as much class as Roger Ailes at a convention of FOX News anchors. They've shouted anti-gay slurs at LGBT soccer players from the United States, Canada and Australia. On Sunday, they booed German tennis player Dustin Brown after he twisted an ankle so badly he ended up in the hospital.
10,000 "fans" bombarded United States soccer goalie Hope Solo with relentless chants of "Zika, Zika" because she'd posted a photo on Twitter wearing a hat with mosquito netting.
Apparently in Brazil it's considered offensive to protect yourself from mosquito-born infections, to be gay, and to be injured. Maybe they should just change their name to "University of California, Berkeley", create a safe space, and protect delicate sensibilities from the evils of reality.
Despite the sewage, bad discourse, the brazen thieves robbing tourists at gunpoint, and the overall funk of the joint, the finely-tuned athletes competing on the world stage will shine in Rio. The best of the best will divvy up gold, silver, and bronze medals, take them to their home countries, and bask in the accolades they've rightfully earned.
As for Rio, no medal for you.