Rio Olympic Village Horror Stories

By Tess Koman

The past few weeks have brought horror story after horror story about Rio’s Olympic villages, the 31 buildings meant to house close to 18,000 athletes, coaches, and staff for the entirety of the games. Though many are “confident” tonight’s opening ceremony will be “awesome,” athletes complained as early as this morning the villages are still not up to par. Below, some of the strangest and most alarming things that have happened in the Olympic village leading up and during the games.

1. The Australian toilets failed a major “stress test,” causing their athletes to move in late. When toilets were flushed on multiple floors at the same time July 25 to see if the building’s plumbing could handle several athletes at once, “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,” Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Committee Kitty Chiller said. That was in addition to “blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed and dirty floors in need of a massive clean.”

2. Once the Australians were able to move in, they were robbed. According to CNN, a fire broke out in basement garage of the Australian Villages, and when athletes were evacuated, at least one laptop and several Zika-protective team shirts were taken.

3. Some of the villages’ fire alarms were disconnected, including the Australians’.It’s unclear how they knew to evacuate during the fire as alarms did not go off. A few of their athletes even slept through the drill. “I didn’t know it even happened, to be honest,” Australian shooter Warren Potent told CNN. Chiller said it was “completely unacceptable” the team wasn’t even told by Rio officials the alarms would be off.

4. Just last night, the Czech village flooded. It’s unclear what actually caused the flooding, but Czech cyclist Zdenek Stybar described the raining in one stairwell like a “new shower in the house.”

Great we have new shower in the house. ????????????????

A video posted by Zdenek Stybar (@stybarzdenek) on

5. There is no coffee to be found in the villages. Egyptian archer Ahmed El-Nemr told NPR when he asked about the caffeine selection, “they said we are only limited to Coca-Cola products. So…” Coffee is not an official sponsor of the 2016 Olympic Games and it is nowhere to be found.

6. The gas leak smell in the accommodations was deemed “normal” by Brazilian officials. The smell allegedly permeating the entire village and was due to gas connection tests, Yahoo! Sports reports.

7. Because the gas smell and the aforementioned plumbing concerns weren’t being addressed quickly enough, several countries brought in their own repair teams. TheItalians, in particular, hired massive amounts of manual labor as “a matter of urgency.” The Dutch hinted at retroactively charging the Brazilians for the repairs of their village damages. “It is the responsibility of the organizing committee to deliver a safe and well-functioning village,” Dutch Chef de Mission Maurits Hendriks told the Guardian. “Let it be clear that we will evaluate this situation with IOC and Rio 2016 after the Games. This applies for example to financial consequences as a result of the measures we are taking and have been taken.”

8. As of five days ago, some villages had yet to pass safety inspection tests. It’s unclear if they all have today.

9. The Jamaican team is staying in a “construction site” after arriving to unfinished rooms yesterday. Though the Jamaican Chef de Mission Vishu Tolan said, “Things will get better as we go along” and he believes the mess “today and tomorrow will be rectified,” he noted three of the team’s 24 rooms had water leakage. Footage from one of the rooms shows plaster strewn everywhere and completely unfinished accommodations.

10. Olympic officials lost the key to the Olympics. Though this isn’t technically an Olympicvillage horror story, it’s still alarming: The east gate of the games had to be cut open with box cutters after officials realized the key was gone and the women’s soccer team had to use that entrance to start their opening match.

11. Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina got stuck in a village elevator before his match with Novak Djokovic. According to his publicist, he was stuck for 40 minutes Sunday and his cell didn’t work in the elevator. He was eventually rescued by members of the Argentinian handball team.


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