Usain Bolt Attempts to Break Record in Rio

Usain Bolt in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

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Olympic sprinter from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, will attempt to break his own record on Sunday, March 31st in the 150 meter race during the Male Olympian race at the Mano a Mano event on Copacabana Beach.

Bolt is renowned as potentially the fastest man in the world and currently holds world records in the Olympic 100 meter and 200 meter dashes. He also set a world record in 20019 for the 150 meter race in the UK at 14.35 seconds.

Bolt will be competing against Daniel Bailey from Antigua and Barbuda, Alex Quinonez from Brazil on a special track designed on the beach. The material used for the blue lane track is the same used in the Olympics.

After arriving in Brazil, Bolt also participated in a 150 meter race with 8 local children as part of an initiative of the Social Service Industry, who uses sports in order to provide social inclusion and opportunities for children.

Bolt told reporters that he plans to return to Rio in 2016 for the Olympics, stating “I am definitely going to be here,” he told the Associated Press, “The record is going to be a little bit harder to break because then I will be kind of old. I’ll be 33 but I’ll definitely come and give a good performance, definitely.”


After Retirement, Brazilians Continue to Work

Brazilians aren’t actually retiring once they’ve retired. In fact, recent studies show that Brazilian men are retiring and collecting pension payments, but working an average of 7.3 years longer, and women are doing the same for an average of about 5.4 years.

The study was conducted by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) and released its results on Monday that suggested Brazilians are receiving their pensions before they lose their ability to continue work. Men can retire after 35 years of work contribution, or once they’ve reached the age of 65, and women can receive pensions after 30 years of work contribution or once they’ve reached the age of 60.

The IPEA study states “Whereas the increase in life expectancy has been accompanied by improvement in health conditions, and given the concern about aging and the reduction in the near future the supply of labor, it is important to create policies to keep the worker on the active largest possible number of years.” The IPEA also  found that women tend to retire earlier than men. This benefit was put in place to offset motherhood costs. The IPEA also speaks on this matter, stating “The higher female life expectancy combined with the increasing participation of women in the labor market and changes in the family are requiring a reassessment of the contribution by women.”

The president of the IPEA, Marcelo Neri, stated that last year was a strong year for Brazil’s labor market, and that the lower GDP growth in 2012 did not have an adverse effect on the average employee. However, he states this might not continue through 2013. Brazil has been experiencing a 10 year low, and hit their lowest GDP percentage of 4.6% in December of 2012.


Brazil Forces Crack Addicts into Treatment

Brazil has had a rapidly growing crack epidemic, and in order to tackle it the city of Rio has instituted a program for involuntary hospitalization of abusers. This started one month after Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, began a similar program. The program launched two weeks ago, and since then 99 addicts have been hospitalized, of which 29 of them were involuntary.

The ease of drug abuse in Brazil is directly contributed to the fact that it borders among 3 of the largest drug producing countries in the world: Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. Much of the drugs are trafficked directly through Brazil. Brazil released a study last year that it may have the world’s largest crack-cocaine market currently, with almost 1 million users.

Many believe that Rio is instituting this program in an effort to clean up before the FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. There are also many that believe this is an incredibly ineffective way of treating addicts. Ronaldo Laranjeira, who is in charge of Unifesp’s Research Unit on Alcohol and Drugs, told the Rio times recently “In terms of crack users, the cases are so severe, people are so aggressive, so impulsive, sometimes psychotic, for me they are [not just addicts but] severe cases of psychiatric diseases. That’s why for many people we have to use involuntary admission. The clinical structure we have is basically only outpatients’ clinics and they cannot cope with these more severe cases.” He added that he does believe involuntary hospitalization is effective for some who have psychiatric issues, but those patients only make up about 15% of addicts.

There was also a R$4 billion initiative launched in 2011 to stop the spread of cocaine within Brazil, however much of that money is said to not have reached the individual state governments. “The huge contrast between Rio and São Paulo is that in São Paulo they are using state money to finance this service while in Rio they are relying too much on the federal government, and the money the federal government is putting on this treatment of crack is very small.” states Laranjeira to the Rio Times.