The Olympic Games have always been a huge highlight in the sporting community and beyond. In fact, the Olympics are notorious for making people who normally aren’t interested in sporting events get excited about sporting events.
With such a wide variety of sports being tied together, there is something for everyone to enjoy. You cheer on your country, celebrate the win as if it was your own, and feel the loss as your own as well. For this reason, the Olympics are all about the spectators who come together to support their country’s athletes.
However, what happens when a spectator based event is suddenly without spectators?
This is currently the case in Rio, where the 2016 summer Olympic Games are being held. There are many varying factors that are contributing to the lack of spectators in the stands, but fear and concern about security are the main reasons people are avoiding the events this year.
People Are Afraid to Go to Rio to Watch
The fear stems from the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and other locations. The majority of the attacks have been at large venues with large crowds, and people fear that this will be the case with the Olympic Games. While the security around the venue is intense, people are still afraid that some members of varying terrorist groups could still gain entry into the arenas and cause mayhem.
The security itself is another deterrence for many spectators. In some cases people are lined up for blocks to gain entry into arenas which is causing major backlog. The spectators are seeing the lines and are avoiding them altogether.
However, the spectators are not the only ones who need to gain entry. Many of the workers, those who would be running the food stands and souvenir stands within the venues, are getting stuck in these long lines. They aren’t too upset because they understand that security is just doing their job, however this is slowing down many different parts of the venue inside.
There is also the fear of the Zika virus. The virus appeared in Brazil in early 2015 and has been spreading ever since. There are travel warnings out for anyone travelling to and from Rio and many other areas in Brazil, and this obviously has instilled fear in some would-be Olympic goers.
Athletes Need Our Support
The stands being empty is a sight that has many people upset. However, the athletes themselves are feeling this emptiness even more than others. For some events, such as the equestrian events, some swimming, and even some of the gymnastics, the spectators play a silent role. They are there to view the sport being played, and to cheer on their country when they win.
However, many of the other sports, such as rugby, rely on the crowds. The cheering spectators give the teammates something to feed off of and without that energy many of the athletes are feeling let down.
Regardless of the lack of spectators, the 2016 Olympics have been a hit so far. From the colorful display at the opening, to the various events that have taken place, the lack of spectators is being noted but hasn’t overly impacted the spirit of the games, which can be counted as a good thing.
After all, people are still tuning in on their computers and televisions to watch the events. We just need to make sure we are banding together and putting extra effort into ensuring our country’s athletes know they are being supported, even if we aren’t there in person to do so.
Young Olympians, such as Penny Oleksiak, are making history for themselves and for their country, and that is something to be thankful for, proud of, and look forward to!