Rio de Janeiro and Brazil at large is in a precarious spot as the 2016 Olympics kick off this August. Between poor water conditions, public unrest and the threat of an international health crisis, there's plenty to be concerned about as the Summer Games unfurl. The following are some troubling scenarios that could play out as Olympians compete in Brazil over the next three weeks.
Getty ImagesMario Tama
The Olympic torch is vandalized
Since entering Brazil, the Olympic torch has been put out, targeted with water and sprayed with a fire extinguisher as it's made its way through the host nation. And with the flame transferring to the Olympic Village on Friday, the fire becomes a trickier but larger target for the many protest groups that have demonstrated against the games in Brazil. The anger over the country's continued economic freefall needs a material target, and with the Rio Olympics' almost certain promise of further financial ruin, the Olympic torch provides a palpable focal point for those rallying against the games.
Getty ImagesMario Tama
Martial law is declared
The initial fear in Brazil was that labor disputes between the government and the police would result in a lack of authority and control in the run-up to the Olympic Games. On the contrary, there is a strong and active police force in Rio de Janeiro, and its actions have resulted in images like the one above: officers quashing an anti-Olympic/anti-corruption protest held in Rio on Tuesday. With the government on its heels and the world watching, believe that martial law will hold sway for Rio's citizens, whether it's formally announced or not.
An international Zika outbreak
As a disease without a cure or workable vaccine, the Zika virus is one of the most immediate physical concerns for those entering Brazil, where it continues to be transmitted to humans by a species of mosquito in the area. And as the virus continues to spread (it's already found enough of a toehold in a Miami, Florida, community to warrant a CDC travel warning), the prospect of athletes and national team employees contracting the illness and bringing it home is as prevalent as ever.
A military coup is attempted
This probably won't happen. God willing there will not be a coup in the host nation in the middle of the Olympic Games. But the prospect of a military takeover in Brazil in a time of complete disarray and distraction within the federal government wouldn't be a new phenomenon in Brazil. The nation's military deposed Brazilian president Joao Goulart in 1964 in objection to his leadership, and current Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff's recent impeachment for her hiding Brazil's deepening financial crisis provides a fertile ground for revolt.
Rio's sailing infrastructure collapses into the bay
This has already happened.
Getty ImagesBuda Mendes
The Opening Ceremony is interrupted by protest
Olympic protests thus far have been confined almost exclusively to non-televised instaces: fire extinguishers aimed at the Olympic torch and demonstrations captured by shaky camera phones. That could all change on Friday, where Brazilian protestors will have their greatest chance at making their discontent known internationally vis-a-vis the Olympics' most-watched spectacle -- the Opening Ceremony.
AFP/Getty ImagesYASUYOSHI CHIBA
An Olympian is kidnapped
This is another thing that, again, has already happened. The story of New Zealand jiu-jitsu Olympian Jason Lee (top) and his run-in with Rio "police" back in July illustrates that anyone can befall Rio de Janeiro's current state of lawlessness.