Saturday 3 December 2016

The state of the 'uninhabitable' athletes' village is a clear indication that the Rio Olympics is a shambles

Published 24/07/2016 | 15:04

View of an athlete's room at the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 23, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
View of an athlete's room at the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 23, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Olympics is less than two weeks away but it doesn't look like the organisers have finished their preparations just yet.

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As athletes arrive in Rio de Janeiro for the games, some have had to find alternative accommodation. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Olympic Council have moved their athletes into temporary lodgings as they claim the athletes' village is unlivable.

According to the paper, a spokesman for the team said that 'leaking pipes, spot flooding, blocked toilets and unlit stairwells' were among the issues that have compromised the athletes' safety and made the village 'uninhabitable'.

A large team of cleaners and repair staff have been sent into the village to fix these ailments but it is unclear when the village will be ready.

The 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony takes place on Friday August 5 and this afternoon, Australian Team Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller that clarified why the athletes are staying elsewhere.

Here is the full statement, which paints a chaotic picture of the Rio games.

"Due to a variety of problems in the Village, including gas, electricity and plumbing I have decided that no Australian Team member will move into our allocated building (B23).

I will reassess the situation this evening. For over a week now AOC staff have been working long hours to get our section of the Village ready for our athletes.

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.

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

We have raised our concerns on a daily basis with the Organising Committee and the IOC, especially at the daily Chef’s meeting.

We are not alone, our friends from Team GB, New Zealand and others are experiencing the same problems in their accommodation.

We have been pushing hard for a solution.

Extra maintenance staff and over one thousand cleaners have been engaged to fix the problems and clean the Village but the faults, particularly the plumbing issues have not been resolved.

Last night (Saturday), 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. 

We were due to move into the Village on 21 July but we have been living in nearby hotels, because the Village is simply not safe or ready.

Our staff are continuing to setup as best they can for the arrival of the athletes. For those athletes arriving in the next three days we have made alternative accommodation arrangements.

We welcome a decision by the IOC to recommend to the Organising Committee that stress tests be carried out throughout the Olympic Village.

The IOC has recommended 1. A plumbing stress test and 2. A fire safety test.

Those tests will include all floors, all rooms, all fixtures, sinks, showers and toilets. As well as fire alarms, lighting in stairwells and exits.

Representatives from National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have been invited to observe the test.

From an AOC point of view, John Coates, has always stressed that for a Games to be successful, you need to get 3 things right, the athlete’s Village, the transport and the food.

There is much work to be done at the Village and we appreciate the efforts of the IOC and the RIO Organising Committee to “push things along” and solve the problems."

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