We’ve all been following along with the Olympics in Rio, and let’s be honest, the news that we are reading is far from positive. Below you’ll read about 16 of the most shocking headlines that have come out of Rio so far. Some are incredibly serious, such as the Jiu-Jitsu competitor who got robbed by men who posed as fake police officers. Others may make you laugh, such as the former gold medalist who racked up an incredible phone bill playing Pokemon Go while training in Rio. While others may help paint a picture on the city and games itself, such as the reports on how the athletes are literally swimming in crap or the deplorable conditions of the Olympic Village (and what Team USA is doing to avoid it!).
No matter how awful the conditions in Rio get, because trust us, by the time you get to the end of this list, you’ll see just how awful they can be, it is clear that these athletes have trained their entire lives for their moment in the spotlight. It’s a shame that so many are literally sitting out the games, or having their performance impacted by the surrounding circumstances. We can only hope the International Olympic Committee will understand the ramifications of choosing Rio for the host city for these years games, and that the next host city, Pyeongchang, South Korea is paying close attention.
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16. Doctor Says Athletes Will Literally Be Swimming In Human Crap
Normally when you hear the expression that the water was really sh*tty to swim in, you aren’t being literal. Sadly, Brazilian pediatrician Dr. Daniel Becker said: “Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms.”
A local fisherman said that often the fish that are caught are typically black on the inside due to the oil and muck in the water, though that doesn’t stop them from cleaning and eating them.
At least Alfrodite Zegers, a sailor on the Netherlands team had the right idea when he said “We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up.” Let’s also hope they have plenty of mouthwash on board.
15. Officials Forced To Cut Their Way Into Stadium After Losing Keys
One of the most panicked feelings in the world is when you realize you have misplaced your keys. Now just imagine if the keys that you’ve lost happened to unlock one of the main gates at the new Maracana Stadium? It was reported on August 4th that organizers had lost the keys to the venue, forcing two men to use bolt cutters to break open the padlock.
14. Australia Refuse To Live In Olympic Village
There are no shortage of reports out there that talk about the poor conditions of the Olympic Village in Rio. One of the most prominent complaints came from the Australian team, who on July 24th, announced they would not move into the housing. When asked why, the team cited problems including gas, electricity and plumbing.
Great Britain and New Zealand were two other nations that were actively complaining about the conditions. When the team decided to have several athletes turn on the faucets at once to test the system, reports said: “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.”
On a positive note, a few days later the Australian athletes agreed to move back into the Olympic Village after the officials promised that there had been fantastic progress made to the accommodations. I guess the people who spent $1.5 billion on the Village that has seven pools, tennis courts and hopes to house 18,000 people, didn’t think about the fact that maybe several athletes would need to use the sinks at once?
13. Australian Jiu-Jitsu Competitor Kidnapped By Fake Police
Jason Lee has spent his entire life training for the Olympic games, but I imagine this was never part of his dream. Lee Tweeted out on July 24th how he had been kidnapped in Rio by several people who pretended to be cops, and was then forced to withdraw money from an ATM.
When asked to explain the story, Lee said: “I was threatened with arrest if I did not get in their private car and accompany them to two ATMs to withdraw a large sum of money for a bribe. I’m not sure what’s more depressing, the fact this stuff is happening to foreigners so close to the Olympic Games or the fact that Brazilians have to live in a society that enables this absolute bullshit on a daily basis. This place is well and truly f***ked in every sense of the word imaginable.”
Pretty ballsy of the thieves to go after an Olympic Jiu-Jitsu competitor! Lee had been living in Rio for the last 10 months, but it is quickly becoming evident that crime is getting far more frequent.
12. 150 Experts Say Olympics Must Be Postponed Because Of Zika Virus
Below you’re going to read about some of the prominent names that have pulled out of the Olympics because they feared they may contract the Zika virus. For those uninformed, the Zika virus is transmitted through Aedes mosquitos and can cause significant problems. As of now, there is no medication or vaccination known that can prevent the virus. If contracted, the disease can transfer to pregnant women and their fetus which can have severe brain malformations and other birth defects.
Adults can also suffer from Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is a rapid-onset muscle weakness that can become life-threatening. Sounds pretty serious, eh? Probably why 150 different experts from more than a dozen countries signed a letter asking the WHO to reconsider holding the games in Rio.
Part of the statement read: “An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become endemic. Should that happen to poor, as-yet unaffected places (e.g., most of South Asia and Africa) the suffering can be great. It is unethical to run the risk, just for Games that could proceed anyway, if postponed and/or moved.”
11. Media Village Built On A Mass Grave Of Slaves
Now I’m not saying this is how you get some cursed… but this is totally how you get cursed! The media village is being promoted as being 1,500 spacious apartments, but what they fail to mention is the Quilombo community that got torn down in order to have the village be constructed.
The Quilombos is a community of roughly 3,500 people in Brazil whose ancestors were runaway slaves and had the right to the land. Especially because 16 years ago, there was a mass grave found of their ancestors nearby. While the residents of the land did file for the rights to the land, a developer had bought up the land before their claim was able to be finalized.
10. Study Finds Air More Deadly Than The Water
Just when you’re convinced that the water is the worst thing about Rio (because of you know, the human crap in it), a study comes out that says perhaps it’s the air that people should really be worried about.
When Rio was first awarded the games in 2009, it did not have an air quality that was within the standards of the WHO (World Health Organization). Paulo Saldiva is a member of the WHO committee and went on record saying: “This is definitely not Olympic air. A lot of attention has been paid to Rio’s water pollution, but far more people die because of air pollution than the water, you are not obligated to drink water from Guanabara Bay but you must breathe Rio’s air.”
9. TV Crew Attacked By Thieves
You need to imagine that if you’re being sent over to Rio for the Olympics, that you’re going to be at least a little apprehensive over the crime. Especially when you hear about stories like the Channel Nine crew, who were robbed within an hour of their arrival in Rio.
The reporter, Christine Ahern, and her cameraman were on the beach when they were approached by a group of transvestites, Ahern recalled the event saying: “One came straight for my cameraman Glen and that’s when security intervened, but he did get clocked on the head with a handbag, which had a brick or something in it as it was pretty hard.” The two were then safely ushered into a local hotel. When talking about crime in the area, a local mentioned how crime is continuing to increase as the economic crisis becomes more significant.
8. German Sailor Gets Infection From Polluted Waters
This story may come back from 2015, but it’s proof more than ever that the problems in Rio are nothing new. Erik Heil is a German sailor who competed at an Olympic test event in Rio last August. After competing, Heil was treated at a Berlin hospital where he was told his legs had been infected by several multi-resistant germs.
Heil spoke about the matter, saying: “I have never in my life had infections on the legs. Never! “I assume I picked that up at the test regatta. The cause should be the Marina da Glória where there is a constant flow of waste water from the city’s hospitals.”
7. Security Firm Fired Less Than A Week Before Games Open
I’m not too sure what’s a more outrageous scenario for you to try and comprehend. The first is the fact that literally less than a week before the Olympics were supposed to open, the Brazil Ministry of Justice stepped in and terminated their contract with a private firm that was going to handle security. When talking about it, the ministry stated that the firm was both incompetent and irresponsible.
The second thing to try and get your head around is the fact that the firm was supposed to hire 3,400 people, and it had only hired 500. So it’s pretty clear they deserved to get fired, but how on earth does this not happen sooner? Did the Ministry think they were just going to hire 3,000 capable security members in the last 2 months? Looks like they had something in common with the firm in terms of incompetency!
6. Olympic Organizers Think Village Was Sabotaged
What do you do when the entire world is staring at you and your awful Olympic village? Blame sabotage, of course! Mario Andrada is one of the spokesmen for Rio and when talking about the deplorable conditions that led to Australia’s evacuation, Andrada said that it may have been unhappy workers who caused the different problems.
Once the problems became evident, Andrada was then forced to track down roughly 650 plumbers and electricians to try and come in and fix the village.
It was also reported that Rio may be fined up to $100,000 for hiring workers that were not given benefits or protected from workplace injuries. This becomes evident when you hear that one US official said: “The workers were unprepared, working with water on the floor, working with electricity and wearing no protection; wearing flip-flops,” you can imagine Andrada’s excuse of how everyone lives and works in flip-flops probably won’t hold up in court.
5. Brazilian Police Greet Tourists With “Welcome To Hell Sign”
When you arrive in a new country, it can always be a little bit intimidating. Especially if you’re going to a country that may not necessarily be the safest. So how do you think you’d feel if you stepped off an airplane and the first thing you saw was that sign.
Now there is definitely no denying that it is sad if these men are not paid, but being told that you’ve entered hell is definitely far from ideal. Once you left the airport, there was another sign that said: “Welcome, we don’t have hospitals!”
The police have had a long and public battle over wages, with one officer saying “At the stations we don’t have paper or ink for the printers, there’s no one to come in to clean and some stations don’t have a water supply anymore so the toilets are not functioning.” As well as this, many policemen have not received all of the proper equipment necessary to do their job effectively.
4. Olympic Jaguar Killed After It Gets Lose Following Ceremony
When Rio decided to have an Olympic torch ceremony, they decided to also feature a chained Jaguar… for some reason. What they didn’t anticipate, was the jaguar getting loose from his handler. While the jaguar was tranquilized, an officer still fired a single bullet at the animal, fatally killing it.
The jaguar is a threatened species, already going extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador. The organizing community admitted that: “We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal. This image goes against our beliefs and our values. We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016”.
Well I mean, as long as they guarantee it! Animal Freedom Union, an animal rights group based out of Rio de Janeiro voiced their outrage saying: “When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?”
3. Jason Day And Rory McIlroy Elect To Sit Out Games Citing Zika Fears
Above you learned about how 150 different experts thought the games needed to be moved. If that wasn’t proof enough that it was a valid concern, how about the fact that several prominent athletes have elected to sit out of the Olympics. Jason Day and Rory McIlroy are two of the top golfers in the world, but both have elected to stay far away from Rio. This is definitely too bad when you consider golf is making its first return to the Olympics in 112 years.
In an official statement, Day said: “It is with deep regret I announce that I will not be competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games this coming August in Rio de Janeiro. The reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife’s future pregnancies and to future members of our family.”
2. Japanese Olympian Racks Up $5,000 Bill Playing Pokemon Go
Pokémon Go is one of the biggest trends of 2016, so of course, the trend would extend to Olympic athletes as well. Kohei Uchimura is a former gold medalist but was hit with an unexpected $5,000 phone bill after spending some time training in Rio. Uchimura said he downloaded the game when he arrived in Rio and got hooked on it, even though he did not have a flat rate for data roaming.
You need to hope that if he was playing Pokémon enough to rack up such a large bill, that he at least has some really awesome Pokémon to show off at the competitions. Perhaps using the publicity to proof that he meant well, Uchimura called his phone carrier and was able to talk them down to a $30 daily fee.
1. Team USA Decides To Stay On Cruise Ship
Now we’re honest, if you read this headline based on face-value, you’ll just think it’s an instant bash on the Olympic village housing. And believe me, while it’s deserved, Team USA has actually been shunning Olympic Villages since 1992. The cruise ship that they are staying on in Rio, was also used in 2004 when the games were in Athens. In the following Olympics (Beijing and London), Team USA stayed in hotels.
That being said, when you look at the awful conditions of the Olympic village, you can understand why Team USA may love their boat just a little bit more.
Angel McCoughtry has been in two Olympics, and opened up about the boat, saying: “The boat we’re staying on is very nice, very secluded, let’s be honest — how can our men’s and women’s teams stay in the village? They would get bombarded, especially the men’s team. They won’t have peace.”
There is definitely no doubting that the Team USA basketball team, which has several prominent NBA superstars on it, would get plenty of attention and that all if it would not be welcomed if they were staying in the village.