Rio Olympics 2016: Inside the Kiwi accomodation

Kiwi sevens players playing Hackey in the Olympic quarters. Photo / Twitter.
Kiwi sevens players playing Hackey in the Olympic quarters. Photo / Twitter.

Penthouse pools, an exclusive gym, targeted medical care and custom-made nutrition programmes set amid palm trees, blue skies and spectacular bush-clad Rio hills sound like the setting for a perfect vacation.

But while New Zealand's 199-strong Olympic team have a luxurious location at their disposal, there's no hint of holiday laziness about the Kiwi quarters.

The place is bustling. With opening day imminent, support staff never stop moving as they look to fine-tune an environment which aids athletes striving to produce their best under the Olympic spotlight.

At the athletes' lounge, where a pounamu mauri stone guards the entrance, chef de mission Rob Waddell talks about the importance of connection with the first day of Olympic competition just hours away.

"We want people to feel connected to home - this is a bit of a unique New Zealand space, and in some small way that might help our performance," he told NZ Newswire.

Trainer Martin Dowson, overseeing a small but perfectly formed outdoor gym, echoes Waddell's sentiments.

The gym is an upgade of a pilot at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

But instead of a few stretching mats, a watt bike and a recovery pool, Dowson has set up a space which covers all possible strength and weights requirements across a wide range of sports.

"What we've tried to do is simulate a training environment from New Zealand, just to make sure no stone is unturned," Dowson said.

That approach also extends to a kitchen which supplements the village restaurant - a gigantic operation which serves 60,000 meals a day - by providing custom-made recovery drinks, sports drinks and slushies as well as an endless supply of sought-after snack packs.

Right at the top of the 18-storey building is the medical centre, home to a bevy of Kiwi doctors, massage therapists and physios.

Rest and recovery are a focus, with hot and cold pools in the penthouse offering spectacular views to distract athletes as they alternate between basking and shivering.

At the heart of it all, Waddell says, is providing the ultimate performance environment.

"The things that we talk about are performance, pride and respect - that's what defines our culture."

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