"Law and Order" Depiction of Rio 2016 Vote Buying and Corruption Causes Outrage
An episode from the American television series “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” has triggered outrage from the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic bid.
The show depicts an attempt by a firm with financial interests in Rio's bid to buy a vote from a member of the Olympic Committee of Belgium. When the member agrees, she ends up murdered in New York.
Globoesporte.com in Brazil says a Rio 2016 statement condemned the “irresponsible and reckless use of the image of the Brazilian candidate, who is on the campaign to host the games."
The episode entitled “The Glory that Was” originally aired on the USA Network and NBC in the United States on June 14 without much criticism. However, when it aired in Brazil on Thursday on AXN Network, many took notice. NBC owns the rights to broadcast the Olympic Games in United States.
Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes called the show “ridiculous and pathetic” when he spoke to O Globo. He told the newspaper that it could even damage IOC members whose work is completely transparent in relation to the election – and he said it may hinder the U.S. application (for the 2016 Olympics) and strengthen Rio’s campaign. Chicago is also bidding for the 2016 Games.
Law and Order – CI is in its eighth season after becoming a spin-off of the popular Law and Order franchise. The show stars renowned actor Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Nicholson whose characters team up to solve the crime.
The USA Network Website synopsis of the episode describes “the dark politics behind the Olympic Site Selection Committee” and how the show’s murder victim “was the vote he needed on the Olympic Site Selection Committee that would throw the Olympics to Rio.”
The IOC has worked hard over the past decade to clean up its image after the highly publicized vote buying scandal in 1998. The site selection process has been re-engineered and the IOC assures that bribery is a thing of the past. Although the Law and Order show is fictional, it could awaken bitter memories at a crucial and sensitive time of the 2016 Olympic bid.
The depiction of the corrupt IOC member as a member of the Belgian Olympic Committee could add to the sensitivity of the issue; the current President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, was also the President of the Belgian Olympic Committee.
Rio and Chicago are also competing with Tokyo and Madrid to win the right to host the 2016 Olympics. The race is considered one of the closest in history and a single vote could be the difference between success and failure.
The winner will be determined by a vote of International Olympic Committee members on October 2 in Copenhagen. The high profile event will be attended by national leaders and royalty and perhaps even United States President Barack Obama.
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