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Rio Athletes Village Deemed Unlivable

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Olympic housing faces a host of infrastructural issues

Under usual circumstances, discussions of Rio De Janeiro conjure up images of sunny beaches, vacations and samba. However, preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics have been anything but relaxing. It is already well documented by The Atlantic that the aquatic sports of the Olympics will be plagued by the fact that Rio De Janeiro only has the capacity to treat 65% of its sewage. Now a new headache has emerged, housing.

Sunday, July 24th, was meant to be the initial move in date for national teams into Rio’s Athletes Village. Unfortunately, it appears that housing for the 2016 Olympics is as fraught with infrastructural and sanitary issues as the clean up for Guanabara Bay. According to the New York Times, both the Australian and Swedish olympic delegations have refused to move into the Athletes Village, citing its "blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring."

While the Australians and Swedes have opted out of the incomplete Athletes Village, other teams are staying put. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Italian olympic delegation has "hired its own electricians, plumbers and construction workers" to bring apartments "up to standard as soon as possible."

Although outsourcing may prove sufficient for minor repairs, it is likely that the Athletes Village’s infrastructural issues will only deepen as more athletes arrive in Rio De Janeiro. As the Times reports, the Australian delegation tested the facilities by simultaneously turning on lights and flushing toilets on multiple apartment and floors, leading to water coming down the walls, a strong smell of gas and an electricity shortage. If the Athletes Village is unable to support the hundreds of athletes who have already moved in, it is unlikely to withhold under the pressure of the estimated 10,000 soon to be occupants.

All of these issues beg to question whether the Athletes Village will indeed be ready by August 4th, the starting date of the 2016 Rio Olympics. While Rio’s deficient housing adds yet another hurdle to a successful olympics, the Journal notes that at least the city’s construction workers are benefiting with hundreds "queuing up to get into the athletes’ village."

What Happens When There’s Sewage in the Water? [The Atlantic]

In Athletes’ Housing at Rio Olympics: Blocked Toilets, Leaking Pipes and Exposed Wiring [NYT]

Rio Olympics Organizers Scurry to Fix Up Athletes’ Village [WSJ]

Architecture that comes to life in Game of Thrones