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Australian Team Moves Into Athlete's Village

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Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes greets Australian athletes during a welcome ceremony he arranged for the delegation at the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 27, 2016.
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes greets Australian athletes during a welcome ceremony he arranged for the delegation at the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 27, 2016.

When the Australian athletes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, arrived last weekend for the Olympic Games, they got a surprise.

The team’s housing in the athlete’s village was not ready.

Some of the hallways were dark, electrical wiring had not been covered, the toilets did not work and sinks were blocked.

But, after four days at a hotel, the Australian athletes finally moved in on Wednesday.

A view of one of the blocks of apartments where Australian athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are supposed to stay in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 24, 2016.
A view of one of the blocks of apartments where Australian athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are supposed to stay in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 24, 2016.

Olympic organizers agreed that some buildings were not ready for occupancy after some disagreements between representatives of the Australian Olympic team and the mayor of Rio de Janeiro.

Eduardo Paes is Rio’s mayor.

Earlier this week, he said that the Australian athletes might feel more comfortable if he placed a kangaroo at the door.

But by mid-week, the city and the Australian team were on better terms.

Kitty Chiller is the head of the Australian Olympic delegation. She said the athletes’ village is one of the best she has seen. She also said that the athletes may face other issues with the housing in the village, but “it is just a matter of dealing with them as best we can, in good humor.”

Chiller and members of the Australian team met with Mayor Paes on Wednesday. She brought him a small kangaroo toy. He presented the Australians with a ceremonial key to the city.

Paes apologized for his comment about the kangaroo. He told a Brazilian television broadcaster it was “a bad joke.” He also said that he would be cheering for Australia at the Olympic Games, along with Brazil’s team.

ABC, Australia’s public broadcaster, reported that the Australian athletes even took the mayor’s advice. They placed both a stuffed animal kangaroo and an emu by their front door. An emu is a large bird that cannot fly. It is only found in Australia.

Argentina has also expressed concern about the housing for its athletes. But the Rio Olympic organizers said that 630 people are working all day and all night so the village will be ready for the athletes.

The opening ceremony is August 5. But, some soccer games begin earlier, on August 3.

Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee, said there are always small problems that must be solved just before the games begin.

“We always had confidence in Brazil, in the Brazilians, that it will be a fantastic Olympic Games,” he said.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Aline Barros wrote this story for VOANews.com. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Do you think the problems with the athlete’s village are over? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

sink – n. a wide bowl that has a faucet for water and a drain at the bottom and is usually positioned in a counter or on a pedestal

fantastic – adj. extremely good

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