The situation involving the U.S. swimmers who appear to have fabricated their story of being robbed in Rio de Janeiro has no doubt struck a nerve with Rio 2016 organizers. One of the many issues leading into the Games was the notion of security not just for the athletes but for spectators as well. And while there have been a number of reported cases of street robberies during the Games, the truth is that the venues themselves have been remarkably secure so far.
That is no doubt due to the overwhelming presence of armed military and police around the city. Many of them are stationed at key intersections of Copacabana and the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood near the Olympic Park. But they are of course in the venues and roaming the Olympic Park as well. As I was leaving the Riocentro exhibition hall where weightlifting was being contested last week, it was hard not to take note of the armed military officer standing right behind the stage where the athletes were lifting for medals.
To be sure, some of the security did seem inconsistent. During about 10 days of going in and out of security checkpoints to access different venues with the same equipment, I was asked one time to take a drink of my water bottle to prove it was water, two times to take my laptop out of my bag to make sure it worked and one time to remove a razor that a security guard thought was in my bag (either that or he may have felt I needed a shave, something may have been lost in the translation from Portuguese). Each time through the detectors was a slightly different experience.
Regardless, the Games have been an overall safe experience for spectators with the finish line coming in the days to come.