The Rio Olympics and Risk

The Rio Olympics and Risk

29 July 2016

Not many people would want the responsibility of managing risks to the Rio Olympics!

Certainly, risk management is very much an important governance issue for the IOC. At the heart of risk management is the ability to reasonably foresee events that can happen. However, because each Games are organised over a long period of time, many emerging risks can materialise suddenly and are not foreseeable.

Some of the recently recognised threats that the Rio Olympic organisers are being forced to deal with from a risk management point of view are:

  • The potential exclusion of Russia and subsequent diplomatic repercussions. This is a very recent development but the use of performance enhancing drugs is a major ongoing issue for the Olympic movement.
  • Activities of hackers. Brazil is well known as a global hub for cyber-crime, according to cyberfirms. They are reporting that hackers are already attacking email addresses. Public Wi-Fi is quite often not secure allowing the possibility of theft of passwords and other information.
  • The safety and security of athletes and visitors, including the threat of the Zika virus.
  • Terrorist threats are certainly high on the risk agenda but the Nice experience adds yet another causal factor.
  • Political unrest and the depressed economy has the potential of civil unrest. There is also popular anger over corruption.

If you are going to Rio, some useful information is available on the Atrisk website as well as DFAT's Smartraveller website.