Staying in the Olympic Village is a unique experience, with opportunities to meet – and embarrass yourself in front of – athletes from every sport and nation, as riders tell Catherine Austen
On one hand, it’s the most exclusive members’ club in the world: you can’t buy your way in, you are selected on merit alone and it is colour, race and privilege-blind. On the other, it probably doubles a student hall of residence, its facilities are not luxurious, and those lucky enough to stay there may well have to share a room. Those are the dichotomies of the Olympic Village – the official accommodation for athletes of all sports during the Olympic Games.
With thousands of the world’s best athletes, all primed to achieve the peak performances of their careers, under one roof, the Village must be a heady hive of tangible energy.
“It’s hard to describe because it’s unique,” says Swedish event rider Ludwig Svennerstål, who stayed in the Village during the London and Rio Olympics. “The closest thing I can compare it to is a summer camp for teenagers.”