Another day, and another series of brickbats for the Village, this time the Chinese putting up videos of how their athletes are doubling up as ‘plumbers’. While the Rio officials continue to cry foul over alleged sabotage, Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard has been busy giving her fans a virtual tour with a series of pictures showing the various sights of the village. The gyms and pools are getting busier with more and more turning up for training as ‘Chariots of Fire’ continues to play out through the loudspeakers. There’s also a tongue-in-cheek rumour that a Pokemon monster has indeed been found, and it’s called Zikachu.
Not all flags are waving
The ghost of the Munich massacre has haunted every subsequent Olympic village since 1972 to the extent that two countries as always will not follow the routine protocol of flying their flags outside their respective blocks in Rio. The welcome festivities for each delegation is followed by a flag-hoisting ceremony. But while building 19, which houses USA, does not feature the Stars and Stripes as has been the case since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Israel will avoid putting their flag out like they have for the previous 10 editions of the Games.
Fencer, rower add to the healing touch
Despite having achieved a lot in their respective sports, neither Benedict Chambers (fencer) nor Berit Carow (rower) ever managed to make it to an Olympic Games. But the two—Chamber actually lost out while trying to qualify for Rio—have decided to make their maiden journeys to the village anyway though in their other avatars, that of immunologists. Chambers and Carow have already shot four films that talk about practical tips to help Olympic athletes avoid their gravest fears, that of missing out of a medal owing to illness.
And they will be present in person as well for any athlete who seeks their expert advice.
Elsewhere in the village, athletes from different nations are pulling out all stops in decking up their balconies with national paraphernelia to announce their arrival. The Slovenians have put up banners carrying their national slogan of ‘I feel Slovenia’ across each balcony they’re occupying. Australians have historically put up giant kangaroos and emus outside their blocks but after being allegedly robbed during a fire evacuation—one in a series of highly-publicized misadventures they’ve had to endure—it’s unlikely they feel safe with leaving their mascots out to dry. Incidentally, the Rio mayor has taken a swipe at the complaining Aussies insisting that they put a ‘kangaroo’ in their room to make it feel safe. But none of the contingents have yet grabbed the attention of the village quite like the Kiwis, with the New Zealand men’s rugby 7s team unleashing their new haka as a response to being greeted by samba music.
No keys to the terrace for Spain
The Spanish tennis team is having their own issue within the Village, though it’s not as diabolical as those that some of the others are said to be facing. They haven’t been given keys to the terrace, meaning they can’t go out for some fresh air. But otherwise, as Anabel Medina Garrigues writes in her blog, the team, which was among the first to check in, have been keeping themselves busy with guessing which sport each athlete they spot belongs to. Medina has also been challenged to a tennis match by Sergio Rodriguez, Spain’s basketball star who plays for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA, and he’s promised to win two points per match.
Stuffing it with local flavour
While the common cafeteria is serving five different cuisines including Asian, International, Pasta and Pizza, and Halal and Kosher, it’s the fifth option, Brazilian, that is intentionally dominating the menu. So while pão de queijo, a cheese-flavoured baked puff and Brazil’s highest-rated breakfast item, has been starring in the morning fare, the farofa, a cassava flour which is toasted with bacon and spices and eaten like upma, is being incorporated into every meal. In addition, athletes are getting to savour 40 types of Brazil’s uniquely exotic fruits like acai (a type of berry) and atemoia (a type of custard apple) while all the ingredients and meats that will be used in the dishes will be from Brazil. Except for kimchi, which is specially being flown in from Korea.