Rio Olympics’ sporting highlights risk being submerged in murky waters

The IOC will stage manage a glitzy affair expertly but the 2016 Games take place with a troubling series of backdrops that are difficult to ignore

This is Ordem e Progresso. Sadly for the hosts of the first South American Olympics, the words on the Brazilian flag have taken on a grimly ironic hue of late. There has been precious little order and not enough progress. Even as organisers have engaged in the familiar last-minute dash to finish venues and convince the world of their readiness, the International Olympic Committee has struggled to deal with the fallout from the Russian doping scandal. The resulting dissonance has jarred more than ever.

Some of the corporate fluff, as the well-oiled PR machine of the top Olympic partners whirrs into gear with the opening ceremony in sight, is easy to dismiss with a cynical wave of the hand. The excited athletes, many of them operating in the shadows for four years before bursting into the light for one shot at glory and bubbling with enthusiasm as they head for the event that represents the pinnacle of their sport a little less so.

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