In just under 100 days, the Rio Olympics will burst into life. Well, that's the hope. As the Olympic torch makes its way from Athens to Brazil, the Latin American country is gripped by crises which threaten to overwhelm the battered host city.
A political scandal could see President Dilma Rousseff's ticket to opening night cancelled, while fears about the Zika virus and foul pollution in Guanabara Bay, where the yachts will race - and which could deliver gold for New Zealand's sailors - adds to the sense of dismay.
The $15 billion cost is a fortune for a nation on its economic knees, and warnings of Islamic radicals eyeing the show as their next target will sap the enthusiasm of capitals pondering an Olympic bid.
The collapse last week of a new cycle path and an admission from Rio organisers that the velodrome is still weeks away from completion hardly instils confidence that everything is kapai around Copacabana. But as the Olympic juggernaut enters the final straight it's perhaps worth reflecting that host cities of mega events typically run to tight deadlines.
What's more, two years ago Brazil pulled off a successful World Cup, even though its famous national side suffered a drubbing in the semifinal.
Rio de Janeiro rightly celebrated when the games were awarded for the first time to South America. In a landmark city where studies suggest residents are predisposed to joy, let's hope their DNA will sweep aside the calamities besetting the buildup.
Debate on this article is now closed.