Words by Nick Ellerby
“For sure, in terms of organization, these Games were a success. This is true. We are just sorry that lots of necessities, things that the people need, outside of the Olympics, were forgotten about.”
Antonio is 41 and works in a hut on the beach selling drinks and renting chairs and umbrellas to tourists. His hut is just yards from the beach volleyball stadium, which now sits in a state of semi-retirement on the sands of Copacabana, waiting to be turned into two new schools.
He remembers me from our chat three weeks ago and greets me with a big smile and the classic Brazilian greeting, which consists of a sideways high five and fist bump.
“Rio’s image has improved internationally, great! But for me and my people that work on the beach here, we haven’t seen any improvement.”
“Hey, gringo!” He shouts at me, beaming. “Everything alright? Have you come to speak to me about the Games again?”
I had gone to do exactly that, to ask him if he thinks things had improved in the city now the Games had been and gone.