It’s hard to believe that with 2015 coming to an end, we will be just eight months away from cheering on U.S. athletes who will be performing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
Let’s just hope we can enjoy the fun and won’t need to pray daily for the health of those athletes who will be competing at the Games in outdoor water events.
Very little information has been made available easily to the public in our Social Media world regarding the water quality of Rio de Janeiro, which demonstrates the power of what many call a corrupt International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Back in July, the Associated Press reported on a first round of tests of the water as it was known even when Brazil won the bidding process in 2009 that raw sewage was being pumped into the city’s waterways.
The results showed disease-causing viruses linked to human sewage at levels up to 1.7 million times what could be considered highly alarming to European countries and the U.S.
The experts went on to say that athletes were competing “in the viral equivalent of raw sewage” and exposure to dangerous health risks were almost certain.
One report noted that bacteria could live in the intestines and lead to cholera, dysentery, and Hepatitis A.
So in August, the city hosted pre-Olympic rowing and sailing events. Nearly double the amount of athletes of what is called an “acceptable limit” came down with illnesses.
Olympic sailor Erik Heil, from Germany, tried to protect himself from the water by wearing plastic overalls that he could peel off when he was safely past the known contaminated waters.
After competing in the pre-Olympic test in August, he was treated at a Berlin hospital for the flesh-eating bacteria MRSA in Brazil’s Guanabara Bay.
According to a Digital Journal report, there was floating garbage, furniture, and dead animals visible in the water during the test run.
A South Korean windsurfer named Wonwoo Cho was also hospitalized with severe vomiting, among countless others. In spite of the reports, IOC spokesman went on record in saying: “The health and welfare of the athletes is a top priority for the IOC. The Rio authorities are following WHO (World Health Organization) testing standards and, according to the WHO, there is no significant risk to athletes.”
Even the International Sailing Federation, who once said they would push for the sailing events to find a safer venue, later backtracked their statement.
“While work remains to be done, ISAF, Rio 2016 and all relevant local authorities are confident that the venue will be ready to host 380 sailors during the Olympic Sailing Competition in one year’s time,” they said in a report.
So now what?
Organizers are saying they have plans to divert the flow of sewage by just piping the mess elsewhere and using boons.
They also say they will close landfills, reduce industrial pollution, and increase the number of water treatment plants.
Of course, this doesn’t fix the obvious problem of bacterial contamination.
Well, time is ticking. Organizers had since 2009 to fix the problem and haven’t.
One report said if athletes ingest just three teaspoons of water from the area, they have a 99% chance of being infected by viruses.
I’m sure triathletes just can’t wait to swim in this water…
If the bid was contingent on Brazil cleaning up its waterways, then I ask where is the accountability? Where was the accountability when Beijing, China was told it needed to clean up its polluted air along with needing to address human rights violations? They didn’t meet the criteria, there is no accountability, and the system is corrupt.
The Rio de Janeiro Mayor has admitted there is not enough time to clean up the issue.
It’s obvious that these outdoor water events need to be moved to perhaps the Bahamas or somewhere else for the safety of the athletes.
The problem doesn’t stop there unfortunately.
Fans from all over the world will be flooding to Brazil for the Olympics. Spectators will be wanting to drink water, brush their teeth, use water for coffee, etc. It’s important to point out that when Brazil hosted the World Cup, only one stadium was used in Rio de Janeiro. The problem wasn’t as evident as games were played throughout the country
This upcoming Olympics is looking to be a disaster.
If this water issue hasn’t been addressed, then just how have things been handled regarding security, customs, and a laundry list of other concerns.
ESPN’s Mike and Mike radio program has been trying its best to keep the focus on this issue while most of the mainstream media has appeared to ignore the issue. Perhaps there is a reason that this upcoming Olympics is the first ever on the South American continent.