As we have a couple of days’ worth of competition under our belts in Rio, we are still reminded that safety is a constant concern in and around the 2016 Olympic Games. ESPN Australia is reporting that two of the nation’s rowing team coaches were robbed at knifepoint at Ipanema Beach Friday night, just before the Games opening ceremony.
Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Security Chief Greg Nance said that the two coaches were ‘violently assaulted’ when approached by two teenage boys with at least one knife and demanding money. One of the coaches was grabbed by the throat by an attacker before the credit cards phones and an Australian team blazer were stolen.
“It was a pretty good shaking up,” Nance is quoted as saying. “It was enough to scare the pants off anyone really.”
“We’re here for a sports event, the biggest of its kind in the world. Not to fight people on streets.”
The situation is reminiscent of a robbery back in June when anAustralian Paralympic sailor and team officials were robbed at gunpoint while training in Rio. At the time, Australia’s Chef de Mission, Kitty Chiller, wrote to the Rio organizing committee and mayor demanding increased security.
In response to the latest incident with the rowing coaches, Australian athletes have been advised to remain in their accommodation after 6pm and will continue to have a security guard stationed in their foyer.
Australian Olympic athletes are also told to wear casual clothes out in public and be sure to keep their accreditation hidden.