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Rio to Summer Olympians: Pay Us for Air Conditioning

As troubles for planners of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro continue to grow, organizers announced that due to budget cuts athletes won’t enjoy air conditioning in their rooms unless they, their sponsors, or their countries pay for the service ahead of time.

The new plan to charge athletes for their air conditioning plays as part of what organizers are calling a “fat cutting” measure.

Rio Games spokesman Mario Andrada recently told reporters that the committee looks to cut $520 million (or 3 billion reals) to balance its operating budget of $1.9 billion (7.4 billion reals).

Andrada went on to say it wasn’t “critical” to have air conditioning in bedrooms rooms for the athletes.

But as ESPN noted, even though the games will technically take place in the “South American winter” (Aug. 5-21, 2016) it can still get pretty steamy in Brazil. “This year,” ESPN wrote, “on Aug. 19 the temperature soared to 95.7 degrees Fahrenheit.”

ESPN also noted that the economy in Brazil has recently taken a hit with ten percent inflation, a deep recession, and a drop in the value of its currency relative to the U.S. dollar.

The number of new employees to be hired to help run the games is also being cut from 5,000 to 4,500, officials announced.

But this isn’t the only problem the 2016 games has faced. In the light of a growing number of terror attacks around the world, many worry about security in Rio.

With worries over security growing, organizers already noted that they have seriously enlarged the security force for the 2016 games.

In July, Reuters reported that the committee is set to hire twice the number of security guards hired for the 2012 games in London. According to the Reuters report, “A total of 85,000 people will be involved, including law enforcement, private stewards and security guards.”

Still, in light of the terror attacks in Paris that killed over 100 people in November, Reuters also reported that more fears over the security at the Rio games are being raised. One terrorism expert even said that, “Brazil is way behind in preventing terrorism.”

Then there is the issue of the seriously polluted waters in Rio’s Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon where many of the Olympic contests are supposed to take place.

Despite claims by the country’s officials that the pollution problem has been greatly reduced, the pollution seems to be as bad as ever in the famed lagoon with USA Today reporting that earlier this year that “four coaches and 11 members of the U.S. team came down with stomach illnesses at the World Junior Rowing Championships after competing in the lagoon.”

And even this week the Associated Press reported that Rio Olympic water is still badly polluted, even far offshore.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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