Members of the Canadian Olympic Committee held a news conference in Brazil on Wednesday morning to share the excitement building in the Athletes’ Village.
Chef de Mission Curt Harnett says Team Canada is ready to go.
“They are here with fire in their hearts and ice in their veins and it has been such an honour to see them in beast mode over the last few months on the road to Rio. I’m so proud of them all and seeing them perform the way that they have makes me more proud to be Canadian and proud to be a leader of this team.”
Harnett adds that Canada is ready to achieve its goal of a top 12 finish in terms of overall medals won.
Canada’s off to a great start with a win in the opening game of group play for women’s soccer.
While the opening ceremony goes Friday, the women’s soccer team already hit the pitch Wednesday afternoon and defeated Australia 2-0 with goals from Janine Beckie and Christine Sinclair. They play Zimbabwe on Saturday.
Meantime, while athletes are excited to begin competing, residents in Rio de Janeiro appear to be disenchanted with the Olympics.
Vassy Kapelos with Global News is in Rio covering the games and spoke on The Craig Needles Show on Wednesday on AM980.
“Seven years ago when they won the bid the economy was booming thanks to oil. In some kind of odd parallels with what’s happening in Canada, obviously the bottom sort of fell out of that. A third of this city’s economy is based on oil and you can see the ramifications of the price dropping. Even right across, we’re sort of housed right across from the Olympic Park, and you would expect businesses everywhere trying to capitalize on the games or entrepreneurs out there trying to peddle goods – you see none of that.”
Kapelos adds that a conservative estimate puts the unemployment rate at 14% and the public also has a deep distrust of police, which is breeding resentment among locals.
“The people we’ve been speaking to, locals here are definitely on the best case scenario they’re sort of passive about the games, worst case scenario they’re really resentful of it. I think, the amount of money that’s been poured in here even into security – there are teachers, there are police officers, there are firefighters that aren’t being paid right now because the government can’t afford to pay them, yet money’s going into this.”
Kapelos adds that there have already been protests during the torch relay.