The roars of spectators cheering were not heard from inside Olympic event stadiums Saturday. Instead, they were heard from the thousands of angry spectators in long security lines outside, as officials did not have a streamlined method of screening spectators fast enough to get them into competitions in time.
Spectators were unable to get into the stadiums because of the long security lines that at some places were thousands of people deep. In some cases, the lines were so long that people missed viewing the event altogether. Athletes in many cases began their competitions with mostly empty chairs greeting them instead of the thousands of screaming fans they expected – not because no one came to watch them, but because Brazilian officials failed to screen them in time.
According to Reuters, “The morning after a dazzling opening ceremony, organizers admitted to dropping the ball, with only a few hundred spectators making their way into venues such as the gymnastics arena and the beach volleyball on iconic Copacabana beach.” With the stadiums empty, Reuters went on to point out that “Outside, lines stretched for several blocks as fans stood in full sun and security staff struggled… Organizers blamed a lack of coordination between security personnel, including the police, Games staff and private security firms.”
Natalia Carvalho, 28, told Reuters, “I don’t believe it. It’s absurd, ridiculous,” when asked about the security situation that prevented her from seeing Brazilian gymnast Arthur Zanetti complete. She went on to say, “It’s a lack of respect for the fan that bought tickets. It’s a shame.”
Leading up to the Olympics, Breitbart News reported the vast security lapses and concerns plaguing these games from gun fights in the streets to rapes within the Olympic village, to shootings and robberies, and even jihadists being arrested at the airport. The situation on the ground in Rio de Janeiro requires extreme security measures, and Brazil has deployed 85,000 military and police officers to the Olympic village for that reason. What they apparently failed to do was establish a streamlined logistical system for ensuring the safety of spectators.
Even as spectators left the stadium Saturday night, the need for tight security was highlighted when a man was shot by police outside of the stadium. Reuters reported, “Spectators leaving the Olympics opening ceremony at the famed Maracana stadium on Friday night were confronted by the body of a 22-year-old man shot dead by police in the street.”