Aussie athletes remain in hotels as the Rio Olympic Village addresses safety concerns.
Exposed wiring, blocked toilets and dirty floors are preventing the Australian Olympic Team from moving into the Rio Olympic Village. Athletes were due to being moving in on Sunday but are now boycotting the facilities after the head of the Australian Olympic Committee deemed the accommodation ‘uninhabitable’.
AOC chef de mission, Kitty Chiller, said they had made the decision to delay moving in after a series of building failures on Saturday night.
“We decided to do a “stress test” where taps and toilets were simultaneously turned on in apartments on several floors to see if the system could cope once the athletes are in-house,” said Ms Chiller.
“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.”
The incident comes after a string of problems leading up to the Rio di Janeiro games.
Last month, Paralympian Liesl Tesch was robbed at gunpoint while training in a ‘protected’ area of the city. In May, sailors for the Spanish Olympic Team were mugged by five men with guns while walking to breakfast in a tourist area. The city itself remains plagued by the Zika virus epidemic, with some public health experts fearing the games may spread the virus worldwide.
The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, says that all the necessary adjustments will be made to the Olympic Village to satisfy the AOC and make the Australian athletes feel welcome.
Speaking to Brazilian media on Sunday, Mr Paes said,
“I almost feel like putting a kangaroo in front of their building to make them feel at home.”
Apart from the issues with athlete accommodation, Kitty Chiller concedes that overall the Rio Olympic Village is one of the best she’s seen. With corrections to the building already underway, Ms Chiller is hopeful that athletes will be able to move in very soon.
With less than two weeks until the August 5th opening ceremony, the organisers of the Rio Olympics admit there have been teething problems, but are adamant the games will proceed as normal.