Australian Athletes Robbed During Fire Evacuation at Rio 2016 Olympics Village

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2016

Workers inspect a set of Olympic Rings that are scheduled to be installed inside Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 30, 2016. The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games are scheduled to open Aug. 5. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Australian athletes were reportedly robbed of their personal possessions during a fire evacuation at the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

According to Australian outlet 9News, "at least three laptops and other personal possessions" were found missing after the athletes returned to their quarters following a fire evacuation.

Australian athletes after arriving in Rio de Janeiro last week.
Australian athletes after arriving in Rio de Janeiro last week.Felipe Dana/Associated Press

A fire allegedly broke out in a car park bin, which led to "around 100 officials and athletes" leaving their rooms before the building was cleared as safe, by which time their belongings had already been stolen.

The Australian Olympics Committee has since installed security on all floors of the building after initially raising concerns with the standards of the facility itself before agreeing to move in.

The 2016 Rio Olympics have been covered in controversy with mere days left until the summer showcase gets underway, with concerns growing as to whether the South American nation is equipped to play host.

The Sun's Oliver Harvey even went so far as to describe this year's Olympics as the "most shambolic Games ever" after it was reported a rotting corpse was found at Guanabara Bay, scheduled to host the sailing and wind-surfing events.

Theft and robbery have been some of the anticipated concerns coming to Brazil, and this most recent incident involving the Australian team has a risk of disrupting athletes' preparation to compete.

It's been just a week since New Zealand jiu-jitsu athlete Jason Lee was kidnapped and robbed by Brazilian police, as reported by Mashable's Sam Laird:

There was also a grave sense of danger in Australia's theft incident after 9News quoted Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller, who revealed the fire alarms in the hotel had been "silenced."

It was smoke seen in the building that alerted members of the team. Chiller said: "What we have subsequently found is that the fire alarms had been silenced while they were carrying out maintenance on the building next door to ours."

The 2016 Olympics are scheduled to kick off on Friday, meaning athletes have less than a week to make their final preparations before getting underway.

Former South African swimmer Ryk Neethling spoke of his experiences after witnessing a robbery firsthand upon arriving in Rio:

After elevating their own team's security, Australia—and indeed other teams participating—can only hope this is the extent of their poor fortunes this summer.

Other teams can undoubtedly learn from their experiences, too, in an effort to make sure their country's athletes don't suffer the same fates in a host country struggling to save reputation so close to the Games beginning.

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