11 days before the Rio Olympics, athletes are refusing to move into the 'uninhabitable' Olympic village

An “uninhabitable” Olympic village is the latest in a long list of problems facing Rio de Janeiro ahead of the Summer Olympics, which officially begin in less than two weeks, on August 5.

Athletes from across the world were scheduled to move into the Olympic village over the weekend in the Barra de Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio, only to find the rooms and bathrooms in exceedingly poor condition. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Olympic team is currently staying in hotels until Olympic officials can fix problems with plumbing, gas, and electricity. 

“For over a week now [Australian Olympic Committee] staff have been working long hours to get our section of the village ready for our athletes,” Kitty Chiller, the AOC head, said in a statement. 

“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,” she added. “In operations areas water has come through the ceiling resulting in large puddles on the floor around cabling and wiring.”

Chiller said the AOC ran a “stress test” in which they turned on several taps and showers on different floors as a way to gauge the overall competency of the village when operating at full capacity. The results did not go well. 

From the Morning Herald:

“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.

“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. ” 

Along with the Australian Olympic team, Britain and New Zealand are reportedly experiencing similar problems. Sweden’s women’s soccer team decided not to move into the village, and Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States reportedly paid for cleaning services. 

Carlos Nuzman, the president of the Olympic organising committee, said that the problems will be fixed shortly. 

“There are some adjustments that we are dealing with and will be resolved in a short while,” Nuzman said, according to The New York Times. “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.”

The mayor or Rio, meanwhile, had other suggestions: 

While this is not the first time the Olympics have featured poor living conditions (Sochi, remember, had similarly underwhelming digs in 2014), it is yet another bit of bad news out of Rio ahead of the Opening Ceremonies.

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