The preparations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games have been anything but smooth. The city has suffered a financial crisis and a police strike, contributing to major setbacks in the enormous construction project of the Olympic Village. With less than two weeks remaining before the opening ceremonies, the 31-building complex opened Sunday to welcome athletes from Australia, but the Olympic hopefuls found the conditions unfit for occupancy, with exposed wires and blocked plumbing among the many complaints.
Rio’s Olympic Village is comprised of 31 separate 17-story towers, and more than half of the buildings have yet to pass safety inspections. When the Australian Olympic delegates arrived on Sunday, they were rather displeased with the first impression of their accommodations. “We felt that our building was not safe, because of a combination of plumbing and electrical issues,” the Australian Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller told the press. The group refused to take up residence in the Olympic Village, opting to stay in hotels until the problems are resolved to their satisfaction.
The Olympic athletes from Argentina have also checked out and refused to move into the village, citing many of the same concerns. “While the apartments look finished outside, and even inside, when we started testing them, we found some problems that have to do with plumbing and electricity,” said Gerardo Werthein, president of the Argentine Olympic Committee.
With the Summer Games set to kick off August 5, Rio de Janeiro officials have little time to remedy the problems, but they aren’t giving up. Luckily, they have some help. The Italian National Olympic Committee has actually hired its own electricians, plumbers and masons to finish repairs on the Olympic Village building designated for their use. It’s clear nobody wants to take any chances, given the series of challenges Rio has already faced in the weeks leading up to the opening ceremonies.
Images via Rio 2016