At the Rio Olympics, “we just have to keep our mouths closed”

The Aug. 5 opening ceremony is just one week away.
2 min. read
The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro begin Aug. 5. (Peter Burgess/Flickr)

Another day, another story about the terrifying conditions in Brazil, the host country of the 2016 Olympic Games that are now just one week away.

On Sunday, The Guardian published a story about the conditions of the high-rise apartment buildings that are supposed to house the athletes. "Blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring" were so prevalent that the Australian Olympic team decided to stay in nearby hotels until the problems were resolved.

Then on Thursday, The New York Times published a deep-dive about the conditions outdoor aquatic athletes will face in Brazil. Untreated sewage continues to flow into bodies of water sailors and windsurfers are set to compete in, like the Guanabara Bay, according to The Gray Lady.

"We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up," Afrodite Zegers, a member of the Dutch sailing team, was quoted as saying.

There are always horror stories leading up to the Olympics. But the ones coming out of Rio de Janeiro ahead of this summer’s games have been particularly alarming.

Aside from inadequate athlete housing and the bacteria-infested water, there are concerns about the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitos and can cause serious developmental issues with babies. Some athletes and coaches have taken the precaution of getting their sperm frozen, just in case they’d like to have children in the future.

Some high-profile athletes, including NBA stars Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, chose to opt out of the Olympics altogether. None blamed it directly on the ongoing problems in Brazil.

But you have to wonder: Without these stories that keep coming out about the housing conditions, the filthy water, the Zika virus and more, would their decisions have been different?

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