Do Olympians Pay To Stay In The Olympic Village? Rio Could Be A Little Different From Previous Years
One of the big stories to come out before London's 2012 Olympics was just how crazy life in the Olympic Village has been in years past. As detailed in ESPN The Magazine, the town within a city filled with thousands of athletes and support staff throughout the Games can turn into a heathen-filled party once the competitions start to wind down. And one of the best parts about living in an atmosphere of world-class athletes looking to celebrate their win, it's usually free. But what about Rio? This time around, will Olympians pay to stay in the Olympic Village?
Not to stay, no. That's still free. But according to a report from Bloomberg News, the athletes will have to pay for their own air conditioning, if they want it — and with weather in the 80s these coming weeks, they probably will. Athletes may also want to bring an iPad, as there will be no TVs in bedrooms. The reason for the change is budget overruns. Since Rio was first awarded the Games, Brazil's economy has suffered a downturn. GDP keeps shrinking and unemployment is way up from the boom years. The deficit is soaring, hence the smaller contribution to the Olympics budget.
Bloomberg reported that the organizers have tried to keep their budget in line with the 7.4 billion reais (Brazil's currency) which they expect to bring in. Potential effects of the budget cuts have grown apparent already in Rio. Some reports from athletes attempting to move in are not so good. The Sydney Morning Herald reported last week that the Australian Olympic Committee decided to keep its athletes from moving in due to a list of problems. Kitty Chiller, an official with AOC, explained the problems:
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.
Australia is not alone. According to The New York Times, Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo reported that Olympic committees from the United States, Italy, and the Netherlands paid private laborers to finish their rooms.
This is not the first time that an Olympic Village has been finished late. Weeks before the 2012 Sochi Olympics, the village wasn't finished either. Then when it was finally opened up to the public, the rooms were extremely austere — no flourishes to be found (though air conditioning was not a problem in Russian winter).
Now the Sochi Olympic Village lies all but deserted. Hopefully the beach-front property will guarantee Rio's accommodations don't succumb to the same fate.