2016 Summer Olympics Water Controversy

2016 Summer Olympics Water Controversy

George A, Staff Reporter

Swimmers, sailors, rowers, kayakers, canoeists, and triathletes potentially will be in danger in Rio de Janeiro, the spot of the 2016 Summer Olympics. In beautiful Rio, Copacabana Beach attracts visitors from all over the world. Copacabana Beach will hold the water events for the Olympics. Unfortunately, despite its fame, Copacabana Beach has extreme amounts of contamination. Many pieces of trash and raw sewage infest the water and the water contains an estimated 14 million adenoviruses per liter to 1.7 billion adenoviruses. These conditions possibly made the US Rowing Team fall ill in the aftermath of a training run.


Woods C. rows for the Atlanta Junior Rowing Academy. The AJRA rows in the Chattahoochee River, where shocking numbers of trash pieces have been found: “All the rafters and the kayakers just think they can own the river and they throw all their beer bottles and garbage in it, thinking that some one else will pick it up.” Trash isn’t just a health issue. Rowing boats could be harmed by pieces of trash: “Because I know especially from rowing, that if there is anything in the way of your boat, then if trash gets under it, it could change the rudder, it could move it, so that your boat goes in a completely different direction.”


Triathlon and Open Distance Swimming also compete in this water. Swimmers here at Westminster swim in the Pete Higgins Pool, where the enhancements stop at chlorine. Jan Allen coaches the Westminster Middle School Swim Team and Assists the Varsity Team. With health of paramount importance, she expresses her concern for the swimmers: “Am I willing to risk that to compete and then maybe even bringing illnesses back to family members, to neighbors, and other people?” The athletes coming back from Rio might be quarantined because of the Zika virus.


The IOC wants the events to proceed in Copacabana Beach, as they have said the water remains safe enough to swim in. However, the chance of coming in contact with disease-causing viruses records in at 1.7 million times higher than Southern California. A group pushes for the events to run at a coastal resort off the coast of Brazil. While from a moneymaking standpoint, Copacabana Bay would be a prime location for these events, but the athletes would have to make a choice between safety and pride. Many athletes worked very hard to get to the Olympics. To give up that chance takes away a dream.


A coastal resort as the place for these events would be a better option for the IOC. The contamination amounts decrease by a lot. This is a very important time for the IOC as the Summer Rio Olympics will so be upon us. The Olympics have always been held in populous cities, but this year the water condition just might change this.