One of the earlier concerns about the Olympics in Rio focused on the safety of the water some athletes will be forced to compete in. With the games just around the corner, that concern has not been diminished or eliminated. When health experts are advising athletes to keep their mouths shut while competing, you know you have a problem.
Government officials in Rio have recently acknowledged the water being used for Olympic events still faces significant health concerns that have not been fixed or cleaned up by preparation efforts for the games. Environmentalists are weighing into shed a very negative light on the condition of the water long-distance swimmers, surfers and windsurfers will be facing.
“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” said Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician who works in poor neighborhoods. “It’s sad but also worrisome.”
That is no joke. Human feces are in the water our world’s top water athletes will be competing in. That’s just not right, especially given years to address the issue. The story the IOC will spin will suggest the areas where these water sports that must be held outside of a pool will be sanitary and ready for their designated events, but that does not mean the water will be pristine. It will just be a minimal risk to the athletes.
“We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up,” said Afrodite Zegers, 24, a member of the Dutch sailing team, which has been practicing in Guanabara Bay.
I, for one, will be happy when these Olympics are over so we no longer have to focus on all of the reasons why Rio may have been a poor choice to be the host of the summer games. But we still have some time left before the torch is lit, which means concerns over the Rio games will continue to be justifiably scrutinized.