Blog  /  July 2016  /  An Olympic-Sized Problem

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Soaring mountains, beautiful beaches, picturesque vistas and Carnaval – that is Rio de Janeiro. I am sure that Olympic organizers were picturing this Rio, not mosquito-borne diseases and sewage-infested waterways, when the city was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics. I never thought water quality reports would be a focus of ESPN, but that is the reality with the 2016 Olympics, which kick off next month.

By now, the state of Rio’s waterways are well documented. The Associated Press (AP) conducted tests that show the water at various locations where competitions will take place contained viruses that cause stomach ailments, respiratory problems and even heart and brain inflammation at 1.7 million times the levels that would cause alarm in the U.S. or Europe. The AP also found that bacterial fecal coliforms at a competitive site were over 16 times the legal limit in Brazil, a standard that is far more lax than what exists in the U.S. or Europe.


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