Australian Athletes Banned From Favelas During Rio Olympics

24/02/2016 6:10 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
John W Banagan via Getty Images
Brazil

Nope, no favela visits for athletes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

That's the official word from the Australian Olympic Committee, which has decided the favelas in Rio will be off-limits to our athletes during the Games in August for security reasons.

“We love Brazil and we look forward to sharing in the excitement of the Rio Games in August. Rio has made tremendous progress with their Games preparations and the Australian athletes are all looking forward to competing," read a statement from the AOC.

"In regard to the favelas, the Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team, Kitty Chiller, has decided that the favelas are off limits to our athletes because of the security. We have a Team of 450 athletes, there is no way we could manage, or police, visits to the favelas by our athletes."

But Rio mayor Eduardo Paes is not happy.

"The Australian committee has been a source of aggressions (sic) to Brazil," he said in a statement.

Rio's favelas are the hillside shantytowns which give the city its distinctive flavour. While they can be dangerous, and are often run by drug gangs, they have electricity and water and other basic services, and are places where millions of low-income residents call home.

Taking a guided favela tour is one of the most popular things to do for tourists in Rio. But Australian athletes will not be among them this August.

favela

Safe to say there'll be no boxing kangaroo flags up here.

"We have taken advice from our security expert who is part of the Australian Olympic Team travelling to RIO in August," the AOC statement continued.

"He has advised that it would be impossible for us to allow our athletes to visit the favelas because we could not control visits involving a large number of athletes going to different places at different times.

"Our athletes will certainly engage with the residents of RIO, and they will join in the fun on Copa beach but the favelas are areas we cannot control and the personal safety of our athletes must come first."

This view is not popular in Rio.

"There is still much unfamiliarity about Rio and Brazil," Mayor Paes told Brazilian media on Wednesday. "There is a certain dramatisation."

Or in other words, he seemed to be saying "they don't care about us".

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement