Rio de Janeiro will be a hot ticket next summer, but who knew the Summer Games would be this hot. The world’s best Olympic athletes will be sweltering in Rio de Janeiro, thanks to the Rio Olympics Organizing Committee announcing that the dormitory-style rooms in the Olympic Village will not be air-conditioned.
Rio Olympics spokesperson Mario Andrada, the de facto scapegoat for sharing bad news about these Summer Games, informed the Associated Press today about this decision. Due in part to a lagging Brazilian economy, the Rio Olympics $1.9 billion budget needed to be cut. Yanking air conditioners from the expense list will save an estimated $520 million. “We don’t think it’s going to be critical [to have air conditioning] there,” said Andrada.
Although the 2016 Summer Olympics will be contested during Brazil’s winter, the typical temperature in August ranges from 18 – 28 degrees Celsius. After brutal days competing against world class athletes in the bright sun or even indoors, the least concern these 10,500 athletes should have is about getting much needed rest in a comfortable, cool room.
Regardless of an athlete’s status as a rising amateur or as an experienced professional, all are subject to these conditions – unless their National Organizing Committee foots the bill to have air conditioning installed. Countries like the United States and other sports powerhouses will likely dig deep into their pockets to fund this necessity. Still other federations may be unable to foot the bill. If true, the “playing field” will not be levelled.
Ensuring the athletes’ comfort, so that they can compete at their best, is job one for any Olympics organizer. To see cutbacks to this typically “untouchable” budget line item, sparks much worry about what lies ahead.