Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gaming Out Rio

It's starting to look like the 2016 Summer Games in Rio may be an even bigger disaster than the 2014 Sochi winter version with the opening ceremonies just a few days away.

The Olympic Village has been declared “uninhabitable” by some, a private security firm has been sacked due to incompetence, and some competition venues are filled with shit, while others are simply collapsing. 
The Australian team has had it the worst. Last week, the team refused to stay in the Village when, upon arrival, the athletes were faced with “blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed and dirty floors in need of a massive clean,” said Australian Olympic Committee Chef De Mission Kitty Chiller, in addition to “large puddles on the floor around cabling and wiring” in operations areas. 
The team stayed in nearby hotels until the accommodations were complete, and moved in last Wednesday. The honeymoon phase didn’t last long, though. On Friday, a small fire in their building led to an evacuation, and while the team was gone from their rooms a laptop and team shirts were stolen.

Oh, but it gets worse:

Other athletes have had security concerns too. Shortly after arriving to Rio, Chinese hurdler Shi Dongpeng checked into his hotel with a cameraman in tow when a drunk local approached him and vomited all over Shi. The cameraman chased the drunk man away while Shi went to clean up, and when they returned, all of their camera equipment and luggage had been stolen. 
According to Inside the Games, when the two men went to the police station to report the crime, they had to wait for over two hours in line because there were so many other mugging victims there. An Argentinian official actually believed his team’s rooms had been sabotaged they were so subpar. 
With only four days until the Opening Ceremonies, Rio and the International Olympic Games are frantically working to beef up security and upgrade accommodations for athletes and members of the media. On Saturday, the Ministry of Justice fired a private security firm that had been in charge of venue security because of “incompetence and irresponsibility.” As of last Monday, only 12 of the 31 buildings in the Olympic Athlete’s Village had passed safety inspection.

Let's not forget Sochi ended up a ghost town, with a light rail system that nobody uses, a classic example of Putin-era cronyism and mismanagement.  Brazil isn't doing much better with suspended President Dilma Rousseff facing calls for her formal removal before the Games begin.

Luckily the 2018 winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2020 Tokyo summer games seem to be on track for a much better performance, for now.

That's little help for Rio, however.

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