Yes We Créu! Youth Reaction To Rio's Winning Olympic Bid

Today’s Youth Advisory Board post comes from André Perez, one of our newest board members and who is a high school senior from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As always, you can communicate directly with any member of the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board by emailing them at youthadvisoryboard at…or just leave a comment below.

Yes We Créu! Youth Reaction To Rio’s Winning Olympic Bid

Rio Olympic bid logoIt wasn’t a surprise for me when Rio was chosen as the city that would host the 2016 Olympics. And I wasn’t alone. Euphoria had taken over the city: Colleges dismissed classes and at high schools, teachers and students watched the decision broadcast live together on television sets. In Copacabana Beach, 30K people gathered around a huge stage dividing their attention between screens showing what was going on in Denmark and local musical shows. When they announced the city as the winner, the entire Rio population vibrated. From my window I could hear people in my neighborhood celebrating as if their team had won an important match (yes, people shout A LOT during soccer games around here. You don’t need to have your TV turned on to know when a team scores a goal). The entire restaurant where my mother was eating lunch started to jump and shout when Rio’s name was read aloud by the president of the International Olympic Committee.

My peers and classmates were also very happy Brazil won the bid. Everybody is excited about the opportunity to see the Games live, and some people are planning on volunteering so they can have a more active role in such a historic event for the country and for the entire continent. In fact, friends from all over Latin America are already planning to come to Brazil since it’s the first time the Games will be held so close to their home countries (South America never hosted the Olympic Games before).

The excitement was also reflected on Facebook. Most of my friends updated their status (to things along the lines of “Brazil will show the world how it’s done”) and joined groups supporting the decision to host the games here. On Twitter, “Yes We Créu,” a parody of Obama’s slogan, reached number 1 as a trending topic.

Most Cariocas are extremely passionate about their city, and they see the Olympics as some kind of redemption for Rio, which has had its image tarnished by violent crimes and even through pop culture (with movies like “City of God” and “Elite Squad”). Most Rio residents trust the Games will have a very positive impact on the city, improving the infrastructure and bringing in jobs, similar to what happened in Barcelona in 1992 (the best example of a city that has truly benefited from the Games).

While in Rio most people are overwhelmed with happiness, the rest of the country is more apprehensive. First of all, there’s a bit of a rivalry between Rio and São Paulo, the two most important cities in the country so there is a bit of jealousy and bitterness happening. Also, a huge part of Brazil’s population believes that movies like the aforementioned “City of God” are a faithful portrayal of the situation in Rio (i.e. looking like a war zone). Although the movie captures certain aspects of the city really well, to live here doesn’t mean everyone lives in that reality.

People in Brazil are extremely biased about Rio, and there is a belief it is the most violent city in the country. It isn’t. In fact, it isn’t even among the top 10 Brazilian cities with the highest crime rates. The funny thing is that people living in one of those violent cities will probably think Rio is extremely dangerous without having any knowledge of what’s going on in their own state. That’s because everything that happens in Rio garners huge attention and is covered nonstop by the national media.

Sensationalist media coverage and jealously aside, there are plenty of reasons to be worried: Brazil is a country with unbelievably big social gaps. Government corruption is a major issue around here. Not to mention huge investments are needed in areas such as education, safety and health. On the bright side, things are looking up: we were barely affected by the economic crisis and our economy is showing huge growth. I, for one, think the 2016 Olympic Games might be another step in the right direction.

About André Perez
Andre PerezAndré is a high school senior in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When he is not at school or at swimming classes, he likes hanging out with his friends, partying, going to the beach and living life to the fullest. He is completely addicted to his iPhone and loves traveling, especially big cities. He is obsessed with pop culture to the point of knowing what is the highest-rated show in Spain, what the British tabloids are talking about today, what is the number one single in Australia and what is the latest celeb scandal in Japan. He plans on majoring in advertising in college. While not exactly an amazing writer, his interest in pop culture and trends helps him have a good idea on what teens all over the world are interested in and are talking about.

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