Rio 2016, or how Brazilians stopped worrying and loved the Paralympic Games

After initial skepticism, Cariocas are embracing the Rio Games through to the end

Jorge Ribeiro was worried about the tourists coming to Rio de Janeiro for the Games – not because of what they would do to the city, but because of what the city could do to them.

Jorge Ribeiro (Left), his wife Dilma and son Emmanuel stand on the pathway to the Olympic Aquatics Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 15, 2016.
Jorge Ribeiro (Left), his wife Dilma and son Emmanuel stand on the pathway to the Olympic Aquatics Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 15, 2016. (Callum Ferguson)

“We had a lot of doubts about if the Games were really happening,” he said, with his family on the main pathway to the Aquatics Centre. “The main thing was the safety of the people, especially in the city of Rio, where we have so many problems.

“We were really afraid of the violence.

His son, Emmanuel, added a national economic crisis threw the funding for the Games into question, while wife, Dilma, mentioned the political turmoil the country is going through.

Three of the prevalent fears were nailed by one family.

However, they agreed that the Olympics and Paralympics were able to overcome these obstacles for the good of the nation.

The political turmoil reached its peak on August 31, when President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and Brazil’s market was sent into flux while the currency fell.

“At the end, everything turned out to be great,” Emmanuel said.

“The police acted before the start of the Games in operations to make the cities safer for tourists and athletes who were coming here,” Jorge said. “Doing that, we showed to the world we were able to organize the security of the city in order to have a good Games.”

Dilma Ribeiro summed up the feeling among Brazilians.

“The Games gave more self-esteem to the Cariocas and to all Brazilians as well,” she said.

“Everyone is happy because we could host in a very nice way.”