Rio’s Polluted Waters Won’t Be Clean for the Olympics. Here Are the Staggering Health Precautions US Boaters Must Take.
Remember when Brazil absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt was going to clean up 80% of the trash and sewage in Guanabara Bay in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics? Remember how they boldly pledged a “full regeneration” of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon?
Well, according to a new Outside the Lines report, not gonna happen. Insufficient cleanup efforts have been largely cosmetic, focusing on surface trash while raw sewage still flows freely into the Bay. An ongoing Associated Press investigation found “frightening levels of bacterial and viral contamination at and around Olympic venues.”
Yikes. That’s scary. Perhaps nothing else drives home just how risky competing in these waters is than the staggering precautions taken by US Olympic rowers to not die from infection:
…athletes have been asked to get hepatitis A vaccinations and polio boosters and take the oral typhoid vaccine. Their oar handles will be bleached and their boats washed inside and out after each training session or competition. Gear will be laundered at a high enough temperature to kill microbes. “Track bites” — the nicks rowers get on the backs of their calves from their sliding seats — will be cleaned and covered to reduce the chance of infection. Probiotics screened by the USOC will be on the training table.
Yeah, go ahead and file this under “not worth it.”