With less than two weeks before the Olympic Games, several teams have begun moving into Rio’s massive Olympic village to begin training and preparation ahead of the opening ceremonies on August 5.
Given all of the not-so-great news coming out of Rio lately, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) decided to inspect their teams’ housing arrangements to ensure their livability.
AOC President Kitty Chiller offered quite the critique of the apartments’ condition. “Problems include blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed and dirty floors in need of a massive clean,” reads Chiller’s statement.
The AOC also found large puddles of water near wires and cabling. They performed a “stress test” on the building two days ago by turning on faucets and flushing toilets simultaneously in several rooms on multiple floors.
“The system failed. Water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was ‘shorting’ in the electrical wiring,” said Chiller. The AOC and athletes have since made other accommodations in a hotel and hope to move to the Village by Wednesday.
The Rio Olympic Committee hopes to have these issues resolved within 48 hours. “Every Olympic village, because of their magnitude, needs some adjustments until it becomes perfect. The important thing is that everything will be resolved before the Games, without disturbing the athletes,” said Olympic Organizing Committee president Carlos Nuzman.
Meanwhile, Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes took a different tactic by brushing off the committee’s criticisms with a wry joke.
A local reporter quoted Paes as saying that the Olympic village was of a better quality than Sydney’s village during the 2004 games. “I want them to feel at home,” said Paes. “I almost feel like putting a kangaroo in front of their building to make them feel at home.”
Paes’ comment received a bristling response from Mike Tancred, the official AOC spokesperson. “We do not need kangaroos, we need plumbers to account for the many puddles found in the apartments,” Tancred said Brazilian newspaper Folha.
According to Chiller, New Zealand and Britain have faced similar problems while Sweden has also refused to move its athletes in. According to Folha, the United States, Netherlands and Italy are dealing with the issues by paying workers to fix all of the maintenance issues.
Similar complaints were lobbed at the Russian Olympics Committee when media and athletes moved into the Sochi Olympic apartments. However, these early issues add further evidence that Rio’s games are not going quite as well as planned.