BRAZIL (WWLP) – On Thursday, we’re just a day away from the official opening ceremonies for Rio 2016.
The athletes are settled in and getting ready for the summer Olympic Games, and some have already started competing in preliminary rounds.
Reporter Paul Ryan is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Thursday morning where there’s been plenty of concern leading up to the games. One of the biggest has been the water swimmers will be competing in.
There are plenty of question marks surrounding the 31st Olympiad, including some potential dangers.
If you’ve been following the build up to the summer games, you’ve read the articles, seen the pictures and know all about how bad the water is in Rio. Outdoor athletes are about to hold their breaths and dive head first into a pool of consequences.
Biologist Mario Moscatelli paints a grim portrait of Rio’s water ways and in a matter of days, we’ll find out if he’s an expressionist or a realist.
“The Rio metropolis is basically using its waters as a toilet,” said Moscatelli.
Hundreds of Olympic athletes will go for gold in polluted venues like Guanabara Bay and Lagoa Stadium; a concept Moscatelli and his colleagues literally cannot stomach.
“If the tide is low, if it’s raining, and if the winds come from the outside of the bay, not even Jesus can do anything about it,” said Moscatelli.
It turns out the water in Rio de Janeiro may be even more unsafe than previously thought. A recent AP report suggests anyone who ingests more than three tablespoons of the stuff is going to contract a virus, and even those who stick to the sand at Copacabana Beach may not be safe either.
A 16 month investigation reveals Rio’s water is chock full of rota virus; it also contains high levels of bacteria and fecal material, which, if ingested, can cause a variety of diseases including cholera and dysentery. However, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, insists the athletes will be safe.
“In Guanabara Bay, you have four tests per day, which all show the bay is according to the WHO standards. It’s all coming together,” said Bach.
Experts are making seemingly absurd suggestions to the athletes forced to swim in this water. Don’t put your head under water, don’t allow any of it to come in contact with your skin, etc., surely easier said than done.