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Law faculty member: Rio Games, real problems

Dr. Ryan Gauthier, a new faculty member at TRU Law, discusses problems in Rio caused by the Games.
Image Credit: Contributed/TRU
July 21, 2016 - 1:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Dr. Ryan Gauthier is the newest faculty member at TRU Law, bringing his expertise in the governance of international sport organizations to the law school.

With the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Aug 5 to 21) coinciding with the timing of his new posting in Kamloops, he has a lot to talk about in his first few weeks on the job.

Gauthier, whose PhD research examined the accountability of the International Olympic Committee for human rights violations caused by the organization of the Olympic Games, says widespread occurrences of displacement of persons and environmental damage in Rio are pertinent examples of problems caused by hosting the massive event.

“Local government has used the Games as an excuse to evict thousands of people from favelas (Brazilian slums), and turning the land over to private developers,” Gauthier explained.

“Meanwhile, a protected wetlands was ‘de-listed’ to make way for the golf course—golf not being a popular sport in Brazil, a new one was needed. And Guanabara Bay, home of swimming and sailing, can be described as a ‘cesspool’, and will pose a real harm to athletes’ health,” he added.

Gauthier says hosting the Games also results in other problems that are less visible but equally damaging, such as funding for the Games taking away resources from other sectors.

“The Rio Games are about US$1.6 billion over-budget, and are likely taking away money from schools and hospitals.”

Ultimately his research examines how the international organizations who own the rights to sports mega-events can be held ‘accountable’ for their actions, legally or otherwise.

Gauthier, whose mother grew up in Kamloops, is so far enjoying his new environment in the BC Interior. He recently completed his PhD in Europe and previously worked in labour and employment law in Vancouver. He is a Harvard Law graduate and a non-practicing member of the New York bar.

To contact Dr. Ryan Gauthier, email him at, or call (778) 471-8459.

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