The Olympic Village in Rio opened its doors to the world’s athletes yesterday. But Australia immediately boycotted the facility, calling it “simply not safe or ready.”
Water leaks, unlit stairwells, blocked toilets – Rio’s Olympic village is under siege.
Australia has arranged hotels for their athletes like Jessica Fox and boxer Shelley Watts due to major safety issues in the athletes’ village including sewage flowing into showers. Australia’s team management have refused to stay in the village because they do not believe it is safe with leaks, bad lighting and other electrical issues.
The Olympic Village, a 31-building complex located in the Barra da Tijuca district in the west of Rio de Janeiro, is meant to house more than 18,000 athletes and coaching staff over the coming weeks.
“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,” the head of the Australian team, Kitty Chiller, said.
“Water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was ‘shorting’ in the electrical wiring,” she added.
Chiller said she would reassess the situation at the Village after further tests on plumbing and fire safety, but cautioned that “there is much work to be done.”
The United States Olympics Committee has also acknowledged there are problems.
“As is the case with every games, we’re working with the local organisers to address minor issues and make sure the village is ready for Team USA athletes,” spokesman Patrick Sandusky told AP.
Britain said in a statement that it had found “some maintenance difficulties”, but many team members would be preparing in a training camp in the city of Belo Horizonte and would not need the village immediately.
The criticism was another embarrassing blow for host Brazil. Some of the Brazilian delegation were to move yesterday into the official lodgings, which are all fairly basic shared rooms fitted with anti-mosquito devices to prevent the spread of Zika. Hundreds of thousands of condoms are also being supplied.