Is The Filthy Rio Water Threat Real? Some U.S. Rowers Get Sick After Trial Event There
Last month we wrote about the pollution in Rio de Janiero's Olympic water venues -- including this lovely photo of Rodrigo de Freitas Lake, above, where many of the events will take place about a year from now. But is the threat real? They held the World Junior Rowing Championships over the weekend in Rio, which also served as a test run for the Olympics. And I guess that one way you could look at it is that 27 members of the U.S. Rowing Team didn't get sick.
The bad news: it's a 40-member team. Associated Press:
Thirteen rowers on the U.S. team came down with stomach illness at the World Junior Rowing Championships — a trial run for next summer's Olympics — and the team doctor said she suspected it was due to pollution in the lake where the competition took place.
The Americans were by far the hardest hit at the regatta, with reports of vomiting and diarrhea. Other teams in the competition reported some illnesses, according to World Rowing, the sport's governing body, but those were about as expected at an event that featured more than 500 young rowers.
I'm not sure what that last part means. Anyway, Germany seems impervious to water-borne bacteria and viruses.
— insidethegames (@insidethegames) August 8, 2015
Although the International Olympic Committee says that cleanup is "on track" for the Summer games, and Rio's organizing committee claims that Rodrigo de Freitas Lake has been cleaned up, an Associated Press report this week disputes that.
An AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues — results that alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.
It is the first independent comprehensive testing for both viruses and bacteria at the Olympic sites.
U.S. coach Susan Francia:
You don't want to see athletes in the boat park vomiting," Francia said, recounting that the competitor she saw get sick was not an American. One of the U.S. rowers did faint in a dining area, she added.
If Andy Dufresne had to swim through that he might have stayed in Shawshank.