More Troubles for Rio Olympics: Track Stadium Goes Dark Over Unpaid Electric Bill

Rio 2016 Olympics Mascots
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

The trouble signs for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, mount.

On top of worries over serious water pollution and increasing budget problems, the lights in the Olympic track and field stadium have been shut off because of unpaid electric bills.

Even as the stadium has been shut down, confusion seems to reign over just who is responsible for paying the bill now several months in arrears. The city claims that Rio soccer club Botafogo is responsible for the bill while the ball club points its finger back at the city.

According to the Associated Press, the unpaid electric bills amount to nearly $250,000 (or one million Brazilian reals).

Not only has the electricity been off for a week, the water was cut to the facility more than a month ago, also because of unpaid bills.

The latest news adds to the Olympics committee’s budget woes. Officials already announced that it seeks to cut $520 million from its operating budget.

The budget only adds to problems that Rio has been fighting since the beginning. The seriously polluted waters in Rio’s Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, where many of the Olympic contests are set to take place, has been a worry since day one.

Despite claims by the city’s Olympics officials that pollution has been greatly reduced in the famed lagoon, the pollution seems to be as bad as ever. The problem is so bad that athletes are starting to organize. USA Today recently reported 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.”

Despite claims that the pollution has been addressed, though, the Associated Press reported that Rio’s Olympic waters are still badly polluted, even far offshore.

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