Rio Water: Olympic Athletes Most at Risk of Illness
It’s the giant elephant in the room, or should I say the giant elephant in the Rio water? After failing to achieve and maintain clean water for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Rio de Janeiro and it’s half a million visitors this August are all sharing one common fear, illness.
As if fearing the possible contraction of one illness weren’t concerning enough already, Rio is currently home to both the infamous Zika virus and shocking amounts of bacterial disease due to their highly contaminated bodies of water, a serious double threat. Let’s not forget about issues like these either:
The decision to host the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio put a mass quantity of people at risk of illness and infection. Whose job was it to say, “this isn’t a good idea” anyway? Yet here we are, stepping back to watch professional athletes from across the globe, (who have trained for years to achieve pristine wellness), enter these unkempt waters, yikes.
Playing soccer/football under the lights at night, when mosquitoes love to come out and play, is bravery in itself, but physically swimming in fecal invested waters that too attracts mosquitos, how did we let this happen?
The numbers below provide further perspective. Included is a list of the 2016 Summer Olympic sporting events that require entering Rio’s waters. Needless to say, these are the most at risk olympic athletes of contracting an infection while in Rio.
1. Canoe Slalom: 4 events, men and women
2. Canoe Sprint: 12 events, men and women
3. Marathon Swimming: 2 events, men and women
4. Rowing: 14 events, men and women
5. Sailing: 10 events, men and women
The number of water based events adds up to a total of 40, which may seem small but keep in mind: there are 83 athletes participating in the Canoe Slalom, 245 athletes participating in the Canoe Sprint, 51 athletes participating in the Marathon Swim, 547 athletes participating in Rowing, and 380 athletes participating in Sailing.
There will be at least 1,306 Olympic athletes coming into contact with contaminated Rio water during the 2016 Olympic Games.
Here is what local pediatrician Dr. Daniel Becker had to say when speaking with the Times,
“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms. It’s sad but also worrisome.”
Bottom line, the odds are not in our favor.
Most men and women participating in the Rio Olympics range in age from 18 to 30, prime childbearing years, which is problematic in the case of the Zika virus. Incase you forgot, few critters frequent dirty water, high humidity and low wind areas more than mosquitos do. The question becomes, where is the safe zone for athletes and onlookers? The answer is not hotels if that’s what you were thinking.
Can you remember another Olympic games that actually had a trending hashtag like #RioProblems?
Here’s a look at a bit of public opinion on the matter. Be sure to keep these conditions in mind as you continue to view the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this August.