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article imageRio mayor hops back on Australia Olympic kangaroo 'joke'

By AFP     Jul 27, 2016 in World

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes has taken a big hop backwards in what was interpreted as his jibe over sending a kangaroo to an Australian team upset about their unprepared Olympic accommodations.

Apparently seeking to draw a line under what was quickly dubbed "#kangaroogate" on Twitter, Paes apologized for "a bad joke."

"It was not a joke, it was a kind of gesture. I got there and said that what happened to the Australian team was unfortunate," he told Globo television chat show "Jo's Program," which aired Wednesday. "Then I said I wanted to make them feel at home and... put a kangaroo."

The kangaroo issue blew up over the weekend when the Australian team got hopping mad over what it said were shambolic conditions at the Olympic Village, including blocked toilets, leaky pipes and dangerous wiring.

Banners of Australia are displayed at the apartments for the Australian Olympic team during the open...
Banners of Australia are displayed at the apartments for the Australian Olympic team during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, on July 24, 2016
Yasuyoshi Chiba, AFP/File

Paes, whose city is the first South American host of the Olympics, responded by quipping that a kangaroo should be put "in front of their building" to make the athletes feel happier.

Team Australia says that frantic last-minute work in their Village apartments is now close to finished.

They've also taken the mayor's advice and put a large replica kangaroo and emu in the entrance.

More about oly, 2016, Rio, Aus, Village
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