Sports

Political polarization affecting Brazil’s enjoyment of the Olympics

Instead of simply putting their unwavering support behind any and all Brazilian athletes during the Tokyo Games, a significant part of the population is conditioning their backing to the political viewpoints of Brazil's sportsmen and women

Unbridled celebration for Ítalo Ferreira's gold medal-winning performance has been replaced with cognitive dissonance. Photo: Rodolfo Vilela/Rede do Esporte
Unbridled celebration for Ítalo Ferreira’s gold medal-winning performance has been replaced with cognitive dissonance. Photo: Rodolfo Vilela/Rede do Esporte

For many Brazilians, supporting athletes in this year’s Olympics has not been as straightforward as simply looking out for the famous green and yellow flag on the start list. Since the start of the process to impeach former President Dilma Rousseff at the end of 2015, through Jair Bolsonaro’s heated election win in 2018, and until today, Brazilian society has become highly fractured. Electoral arguments placed a wedge between families, friends, and coworkers, and public figures are often held up or torn down in accordance with their political viewpoints.

At the Tokyo Games, the situation remains the same.

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