Rio’s Olympic organisers thought they’d seen the worst that circumstances could throw at them. Then they came face to face with Kitty Chiller.
Australia’s chef de mission bears a passing resemblance to Mr Bigglesworth, Dr Evil’s cryogenically frozen cat of Austin Powers fame. And can be just as scary if suitably provoked. Which she was when presented with the athletes’ accommodation in Rio.
“Water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was ‘shorting’ in the electrical wiring,” she said.
To cap it off, the toilets were blocked, no doubt a handy acclimatisation for our sailors about to tackle Guanabara Bay but not a whole lot of fun for anyone else.
Part Supernanny, part neat freak Marie Kondo, La Chinchilla went through the place like a dose of salts.
She gave organisers 48 hours to fix the mess, an impossible deadline given the pace of Olympic preparations to date.
Hopelessly out of his depth and completely unaware who he was dealing with, Rio mayor Eduardo Paes tried to palm her off with a joke.
“I almost feel like putting a kangaroo in front of their building to make them feel at home,” he said. Yes, that’s him with his face in his hand.
Within two days, he had bowed to La Chinchilla’s demands, fixed the living quarters, apologised and handed our chef de mission the keys to the city.
Silly man. You know the first thing she’s going to do is change the locks.
La Chinchilla had the last word, giving the mayor a toy kangaroo. She says she’d ‘fight to the death’ for the Australian team. And I don’t think she means hers.
Elsewhere in Rio, the locals were busy rolling out the welcome mat for next week’s festivities.
Brazilian police greeted tourists at the airport with this friendly banner.
Proving the point, a 27-year-old New Zealander was held up at gunpoint, shoved in a car, driven to an ATM and forced to hand over $800. The culprits were wearing police uniforms.
Also kidnapped about an hour away in Sao Paolo was Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone’s Brazilian mother-in-law Aparecida Schunck who, at 67, is almost two decades younger than Bernie.
Her abductors are seeking $36.5 million, the largest ever ransom in Brazilian criminal history. Who says records won’t be broken in Rio?
To cap off a stellar week of Olympic publicity, it’s been revealed that the media village has been built on top of a mass grave of African slaves.
Weapons screening outside Olympic venues is to be conducted by hired hands with no security experience and precious little training.
And the International Olympic Committee might want to look into this unauthorised use of the Games logo.
But at least organisers are getting the important things right. We’re told the opening ceremony will be the ‘sexiest ever’, complete with supermodel Gisele Bundchen taking a turn as the Girl from Ipanema.
“There will be lots of nearly naked women doing the samba,” a set of loose lips told The Daily Mail. “The costumes have been designed to show off as much flesh as possible which means as little material as they can get away with.”
Ah, the old distract-them-with-mass-nudity trick. Could work.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been spreading his usual cheer, saying the Games will be ‘less of a spectacle’ with so many Russian athletes banned from competition.
Come on, Vlad, I’m not sure the Rio Olympics could be more of a spectacle.
And it all kicks off next Friday.