Australia to Boycott 2016 Olympics Athletes' Village, Citing Safety Concerns

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 24, 2016

A representation of the Olympic rings are displayed  in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 23, 2016. The brand new complex of residential towers are where nearly 11,000 athletes and some 6,000 coaches and other handlers will sleep, eat and train during the upcoming games, that will kickoff on Aug. 5(AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Associated Press

The Australian delegation taking part in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games will boycott the athletes' village.

According to the Agence France-Presse, Australia Olympic team chief Kitty Chiller said the village is "not safe, not ready" with the games set to begin Aug. 5.

Greg Baum and Daniel Cherny of the Sydney Morning Herald reported the Australian Olympic Committee said the athletes' village is "uninhabitable in the short term due to significant plumbing and electrical concerns."

They added the International Olympic Committee will conduct "stress tests" to work on the plumbing and electrical problems.

The report included a statement from Chiller:

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.

Chiller said the AOC performed stress tests, including turning on water taps and flushing toilets on multiple floors simultaneously. Chiller said "water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments, and there was 'shorting' in the electrical wiring."

Rio has been racing against the clock to be ready in time for the Olympics. Rampant water pollution in the city and concerns over the Zika virus are two of the key issues that have plagued the lead-up to this year's Games.

Olympic organizers in Rio have 12 days to get the athletes' village up to speed before the Games begin, though competitors from around the world are already arriving in Brazil in hopes of getting settled beforehand.

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