The Abandoned Olympic Stadium In The Middle Of The Amazon Rainforest

In general, 2020 hasn't been a great year. Brazilians have definitely been going through some particularly hard times, between their authoritarian nightmare of a president, to a worsening pandemic crisis that said president brushes off as "a little flu" (according to the BBC), to those devastating fires that have been raging through the Amazon. Meanwhile, nestled deep within Earth's greenest lungs, there lies a sports arena that the Brazilian government coughed up somewhere around $300 million to build, while taking the lives of three construction workers, and it's ... uh, empty. Abandoned. 

Wasteful, much? Yeah. As Business Insider reports, that stadium is Arena de Amazonia. It can seat 40,000 people, which sounds great in theory, except local games only bring in about 1,000 folks, leaving lots of empty seats. Arena de Amazonia was one of twelve such arenas that Brazil built for the 2014 World Cup, and it also hosted some 2016 Olympic games, but it proved to be a money pit. Why? For one, aside from the aforementioned construction costs, operating the thing for just four months in 2016 cost about $560,000, while only bringing in a not-so-grand revenue of $180,000. Meanwhile, though building an arena deep in the rain forest sounds scenic, in theory, actually getting to said arena is a serious hassle. Thus, this costly mistake now sits abandoned in the Amazon.

Sadly, if you're familiar with the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, you know that Brazil's got some other empty stadiums sitting around ... 

An Olympic-sized catastrophe

You might think that hosting the Olympics is a great honor, for any city and/or country. And it is. But it can also seriously, seriously mess up an economy, and perhaps nowhere symbolizes this quite so painfully as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which thrilled the world by hosting the 2016 games and then, immediately after, collapsed into a devastating economic recession, as the Independent explains.

Just six months after the cameras and bright lights said goodbye, all those sparkling stadiums and venues that had hosted the games lay abandoned (and often vandalized), much like Arena de Amazonia today. From torn-out seats to a playing field infested with worms, it's not a pretty sight, to say nothing of the agonizing reality that Brazil had previously spent $12 billion on the Olympics and $13 million on the 2014 World Cup, just to end up with ... well, not much to show for it. What makes this tragedy even more gut-wrenching, however, is that when these various stadiums, new highways, and infrastructure for the games were built, as the Guardian reported in 2015, the Brazilian government forcibly evicted hundreds of poor, working families, often leaving them homeless and with no compensation. 

The whole thing is a horrible example of class inequality in action, as regular people bear the brunt of powerful figures making poor decisions. And now, for all that time, money, and forced evictions, these stadiums serve as empty reminders.