The Olympic Games start in 12 days, but it's all becoming rather difficult to get excited about. For the last number of weeks, elite-level golfers have been dropping out like flies, citing the Zika virus as the reason, while the Russian saga hit farcical levels today with the mother of all bottle-jobs by the IOC in not deciding to issue a blanket ban on Russia competing in the game, instead pawning off the decision to the International Federations for each individual sport. Federations have already begun clearing Russian athletes to compete:
BREAKING: International Tennis Federation clear all seven Russian tennis players to compete in the Rio Olympics #SSNHQ
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 24, 2016
To add even more depth to their mishandling of the situation, the IOC have decided to ban Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova: a further blow to anyone who hopes to see doping exposed in sport.
The full IOC contortion on the status of Ms Stepanova.
Throw her under the bus. Thanks for your help. Not. pic.twitter.com/AnEkdCfDvT
— 💉 Richard Ings : 🇷🇺 stop attacking 🇺🇦 (@ringsau) July 24, 2016
In the last few minutes, Austalia have exposed the extent of just how badly preparations have gone for the Games, as they have decided not to stay in the Olympic Village as they believe it to be neither safe nor ready.
The news was confirmed via a statement on the Australian Olympic website by team boss Kitty Chiller, as they expose buildings with blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring:
Due to a variety of problems in the Village, including gas, electricity and plumbing I have decided that no Australian Team member will move into our allocated building (B23).
I will reassess the situation this evening.
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.
We have raised our concerns on a daily basis with the Organising Committee and the IOC, especially at the daily Chef’s meeting.
We are not alone, our friends from Team GB, New Zealand and others are experiencing the same problems in their accommodation.
We have been pushing hard for a solution.
Extra maintenance staff and over one thousand cleaners have been engaged to fix the problems and clean the Village but the faults, particularly the plumbing issues have not been resolved.
Last night (Saturday), we decided to do a “stress test” where taps and toilets were simultaneously turned on in apartments on several floors to see if the system could cope once the athletes are in-house.
The system failed. Water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was “shorting” in the electrical wiring.
We were due to move into the Village on 21 July but we have been living in nearby hotels, because the Village is simply not safe or ready.
Our staff are continuing to setup as best they can for the arrival of the athletes. For those athletes arriving in the next three days we have made alternative accommodation arrangements.
We welcome a decision by the IOC to recommend to the Organising Committee that stress tests be carried out throughout the Olympic Village.
The IOC has recommended 1. A plumbing stress test and 2. A fire safety test.
Those tests will include all floors, all rooms, all fixtures, sinks, showers and toilets. As well as fire alarms, lighting in stairwells and exits.
Representatives from National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have been invited to observe the test.
From an AOC point of view, John Coates, has always stressed that for a Games to be successful, you need to get 3 things right, the athlete’s Village, the transport and the food.
There is much work to be done at the Village and we appreciate the efforts of the IOC and the RIO Organising Committee to “push things along” and solve the problems.
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