Uninhabitable Rooms and Incomplete Subway Lines Haunt Rio Olympics

The head of the Australia’s delegation has complained about blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring.

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The Olympic Village at Rio de Janerio. (Photo: AP)

Local organisers of Olympics at Rio de Janerio faced a rebellion by Australian contingent about unfinished living accommodations as athletes began to move in on Sunday for the first Olympics ever in South America.

Australia’s Olympic team, complaining about uninhabitable rooms in the Olympic Village, refused to check in. Kitty Chiller, the head of the country’s delegation, complained of “blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring.”

In the final stretch before the Games start on 5 August, more than 60,000 troops took positions across the city, part of an overall contingent of more than 85,000 soldiers, police and other security forces. A massive number of security personnel have been deployed for the event at a time of heightened fears after recent massacres in Germany, France and the United States.

Meanwhile, authorities rerouted traffic in Barra de Tijuca, site of many game venues and the Olympic Village, which will house more than 11,000 athletes, coaches and staff.

Organisers Struggling to Complete the Village in Time

Workers at a construction site in Olympic Village. (Photo: Reuters)
Workers at a construction site in Olympic Village. (Photo: Reuters)

Olympic organisers are still scrambling to finish everything from a beach volleyball venue to a new subway line, set to open just days before the opening ceremony. At the village, where lines formed Sunday as athletes began checking in, work crews were still making last minute repairs.

Australia’s refusal to move in follows local media reports that some team delegations, concerned over similar issues, had sought to hire their own maintenance crews in order to make their quarters suitable.

Mario Andrada, a spokesman for the local organising committee, on Sunday said organisers are aware of the problems with some rooms, particularly affecting teams from Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.

There are some electrical issues and some leaks. A team of about 500 workers is addressing the problems. It’s one of those things with new buildings, but it should not have happened.
Mario Andrada, Spokesperson, Local Organising Committee

Eduardo Paes, Rio’s outspoken mayor, at a press conference made light of the Australians’ complaints, saying that repairs would be made.

Rio Manager Eduardo Paes with members of the Australian contingent. (Photo: AP)
Rio Manager Eduardo Paes with members of the Australian contingent. (Photo: AP)
I am just about to put a kangaroo in front of their building so it can jump and make them feel at home.
Eduardo Paes, Mayor, Rio de Janerio

Olympics Bring Back the Memories of FIFA 2014

The problems are not unlike those before other big spectacles in Brazil, like the 2014 World Cup, for which stadium crews were still wielding paintbrushes and screwdrivers even minutes before kickoff.

The new subway line, which will connect the popular seaside neighbourhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema to Barra de Tijuca, has suffered repeated delays and is still undergoing tests despite a scheduled inauguration next Saturday. Even then, the new line will operate only with partial service until after the Olympics.

As the contingents of visiting countries have started to land at Rio, one can only hope that the Village is completed as soon as possible.

(With inputs from Reuters.)

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