Rio Re-brand Runs Out of Time

Rio looks destined to become another in the sorry list of Olympic host cities, like Athens, to fall prey to the speculate-to-accumulate model of international urban re-branding. Like other host nations winning the right to host The Games at the height of their economic 'emergence', Brazil has, since 2009 when the success of its Olympic was announced suffered a tragic loss of confidence. Its economy has faltered, its national political landscape has erupted into chaos, the state of Rio de Janeiro has declared itself bankrupt and Cariocas - the people of Rio - have taken the opportunity of The Games to show the world that theirs is a wounded city with problems that the opportunity of hosting The Games have failed to address. No amount of spectacle can conceal the issues of urban inequality that lie at the heart of Rio's problems. Even though the real estate investors will profit, as will the mega-event experts who simply move on to their next watering hole, as the IOC oligarchs turn their minds to the perks of what comes next, in Tokyo, there is the sense that for Rio, it is only when the circus has left town that the real show will begin. This is because the consequences are about to felt, as they were in Athens, of having gambled everything on a world show and then, failed to make a mark. This will not do the IOC any favours as they are forced to have to come to terms with the fact that despite all their attempts at reform, a diminishing number of the world's cities are interested in taking the political or financial risk of bidding for The Games. This begs the question of why, relatively speaking, things went so well in London in 2012 and beyond. Does London have lessons to teach the world about how to deliver an Olympic legacy?