It's debatable whether hosting the Olympic Games offers any significant economic impact for a host city and nation. But hosting the Games itself requires hundreds of workers and volunteers stepping up to perform small but critical roles throughout the weeks of competition.
From security and concessions workers to ticketing staff and Olympic dorm attendants, thousands of workers pitch in to put on one of the biggest shows the world has ever seen. But not all of the jobs are glamorous, and a few are downright bizarre. Check out the five weirdest jobs found at this year's Olympic Games.
Technically not their official title, and perhaps it's a bit disparaging, but let's call a spade a spade here. During the opening ceremony, hundreds of workers wore colorful ponchos adorned with arrows that helped athletes know where to go as they made their way through the stadium.
Yes, these people played an important role in the opening ceremony getting off to a smooth start, and some viewers likely didn't even realize that the ponchos were little more than aesthetically pleasing traffic signs. We can appreciate the work of the Poncho People while also chuckling at how ridiculous their garments looked.
Let's talk about the meaningless of life for a second. That is, let's talk about what it would be like to be a lifeguard at the Olympic Games. Yes, even the world's greatest swimmers need a little supervision in the pool, so one lucky man gets the luxury of sitting poolside and making sure no one drowns.
And in fact, the job is far more in-demand than you might expect: A whopping 75 lifeguards have been hired to work at this year's Olympic Games. Presumably, they're more of a necessity for water events taking place in natural waters, like triathlon, rowing, sailing, and so on.
But the lifeguards dispatched to the Olympic swimming and diving pools are a truly sad sight to behold. If there's a guy somewhere whose entire job is to sit at a radio waiting for the aliens to say hello, that guy is still more relevant and important than whoever sits in the Olympic Games lifeguard chair. But it's not all bad: With the job of lifeguard comes the best seat in the house.
Basket Crew Member
All that gear Michael Phelps wears up until a few moments before he dives into the water? Someone's gotta take care of it. That's what members of the Olympic Games basket crew do: Collect jackets, headphones, iPods and other gear athletes use up until their competition begins.
You'll see members of the basket crew even more often once the track and field events begin. Each Olympic venue features a number of crew members stationed primarily to assist athletes and make sure everything runs smoothly all day long. It's a small job, but someone's got to do it -- and as a bonus, those workers get to spend all day interacting with Olympians.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 9, 2016
Swimmers and divers aren't the only ones you'll find in the pool's waters. Look close and you'll sometimes see a lone scuba diver at work near the bottom of the pool. Scuba divers are tasked with fishing out any debris that falls into the pool -- and, as sometimes happens, jewelry and other precious belongings that are lost during competition.
A scuba diver was sent into the water earlier this week when Team USA's Kathleen Baker lost a pearl earring while swimming. And scuba divers aren't the only ones lurking in the deep: Photographers have also dispatched remote-controlled robots to take awesome underwater shots of athletes in competition. Of course, when those robots need repair, who do you call? A scuba diver, naturally.
Have we commissioned the bronze statue of this guy yet? Because, good grief, he needs one. Since the Olympic Games began, social media has been peppered with rumors, sightings and the occasional photo of some dude named Eric, who beat out an entire nation of able-bodied workers to become the sole Brazilian filling the role of "condom deliverer."
He's the Sasquatch of Rio: Despite queries from media, Olympic organizers have not confirmed Eric is a real, employed person.
Eric the Condom Guy has one simple job: To walk around the Olympic Games dispensing condoms wherever they're needed. And Eric is a busy guy: The International Olympic Committee is providing 450,000 condoms to this year's Olympic Village. That's 42 condoms per athlete.
God only knows the stories Eric has to tell.