Brazil has not been shy in splashing out to showcase the Rio Olympics in London. The country took over part of the huge mansion Somerset House which it used to host exhibitions -- including videos of a futurisitc Rio juxtaposed with the incongruous plastic artist Nelson Leirner -- and to hold ad hoc events. The country even hired out part of Crystal Palace park, reputed to have been the most expensive training ground at London, for its athletes.
But if Brazil was happy to flaunt some wealth in London, officials are being very coy about the costs that Rio itself might bear to host the games.
Márcio Fortes, coordinator of the Rio games, has said that the costs won’t be nearly as much as the £11bn spent in London. He points out that they are not being held in an area that needs regeneration as they were in London. But much of the lower costs are an accounting sleight of hand: much basic infrastructure will be tallied as part of the Federal growth acceleration programme rather than paid for by the state of Rio itself.
Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes has elections looming in October and any admission that costs might spiral would be political dynamite. But custo Brasil and Brazilian construction companies’ well-known ability to extract additional monies from the government when delays become unbearable likely mean the games will cost far more than anyone is yet prepared to admit. London's legacy games may seem a bargain in comparison.