Olympics: Step Aside, London: Rio’s Next!


Sugarloaf and the art deco Christ the Redeemer statue will still be there, but by the time the Olympic torch blazes into Rio de Janeiro, in the summer of 2016, the storied Brazilian seaside city will be transfigured. Signature neighborhoods, including Copacabana and Barra da Tijuca, are to undergo a $29 billion (or more, pending cost overruns) face-lift. The city’s sclerotic transportation infrastructure will be remade with sleek express buses, light rail, and a first-class airport. A spanking-new port is in the works, and Rio’s overbooked 20,000 hotel rooms will nearly double. The city’s half a million public-school children all will be studying English, and a green-friendly neighborhood will rise where the Olympian contenders slept. Not all that shines Olympic is gold, however. Community organizers charge that some 170,000 slum dwellers will be evicted (officials say “transferred”) to make way for the Games.