Rio Olympics: Athlete Housing Deemed Unlivable Amid Gas And Water Leaks, Failed Safety Tests

With only two weeks left before the start of the Rio Olympic Games, the Athletes Village meant to house competitors has been deemed unlivable with gas leaks, faulty pipes, broken elevators, and moldy ceilings.

The Australian team has decided to rehouse its athletes and the Dutch and Italian teams have complained to Olympic authorities and hinted at demands for compensation, an AOC spokesman told the SFGate.

“From what we’ve seen you wouldn’t put people in there yet.”

With 12 days until the Olympic opening ceremonies, the Rio 2016 organizing committee has admitted that 19 of the 31 buildings in the Athletes Village haven’t passed safety tests. Organizers have vowed to fix the housing problems by Thursday, but so far, only 12 of the 31 tower blocks have passed safety tests, Olympic spokesman Mario Andrada told The Guardian.

“This should have been tested a long time ago. But the problem is there and now our task is to fix it as quickly as possible and to ensure everything is safe.”

On Saturday, a short circuit resulted in a small fire in building 26, which houses the Dutch Olympic athletes, Dutch coach Maurits Hendricks told The Guardian.

“It is the responsibility of the organizing committee to deliver a safe and well-functioning village … Let it be clear that we will evaluate this situation with IOC and Rio 2106 after the Games.”


Construction crews are working around the clock to rectify the situation and make the Athletes Village livable by the time the Olympic opening ceremony rolls around, but it’s not certain they’ll finish in time.

The Italian team has taken matters into their own hands and contracted out the work needed to fully complete their athletes’ housing, but the American and British teams have only experienced minor problems.

The city of Rio is expecting some 18,000 athletes, the largest number ever, at the height of the 2016 Olympics, and some 630 construction workers are struggling day and night to complete the Athletes Village. The 31-unit building comes complete with tennis courts, football fields, and swimming pools, and it was designed to be used as a private apartment building after the Olympic Games have ended.


The economic recession afflicting Brazil has destroyed those dreams, however, and only 240 of the 3,604 apartments have been pre-sold leading to a lack of money for building repairs.

The rather basic apartments come equipped with plastic shower curtains and a single oval mirror, but no drawers or cupboards to store things.

The athlete housing crisis is only the latest debacle coming out of Rio as it prepares to host the 2016 Olympics in South America for the first time.

Rio has been suffering from the economic collapse of the Brazilian oil and steel industries and the cash flow shortage has made itself felt in the lack of hospitals, police, and firefighters.


The city of Rio is also experiencing a crime spree and Olympic athletes as well as international media crews have found themselves victims to the city’s lack of security. Over the weekend, a New Zealand athlete was kidnapped and forced to withdraw cash from two ATM’s by men dressed in police uniforms.

He tweeted out his exasperation with the security situation in Rio on Sunday, according to Fox News.

“I’m not sure what’s more depressing, the fact this stuff is happening to foreigners so closes to the Olympic Games or the fact Brazilians have to live in a society that enables this absolute bulls*** on a daily basis.”

Unlike the city of Rio, the Athletes Village housing Olympic competitors is completely safe with a large security presence at all times and metal detectors installed at the entrance.

What do you think? Is Rio ready for the 2016 Olympic Games?

[Photo by Leo Correa/AP Images]