Much Ado About Water

Editor’s Note: This is a story I’ve been wanting to write for a while, since the topic of water quality in Rio started becoming international news. The original title of the article was “Enough Already,” but I thought that might’ve been a bit too colloquial. I hope you enjoy reading a different perspective on the pollution issue from the mouths of the athletes themselves.

With three days to go before the start of the Olympic Regatta and the opening ceremony tonight, the media presence at the Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro is growing, as is the frequency that supporters and members of the media question the sailors on their perception of the water quality in the bay. The athletes’ canned responses and restraint in rolling their eyes are evidence of an over-exhausted topic; we get it, the water in Rio is dirty.

It’s a two-pronged issue: trash and pathogens. They cause separate problems for the sailors, as stopping due to trash will ruin a single race, and the pathogens are potential Game-enders. These threats, however large, have failed to keep any sailors from competing in the Games so far. Continuing to harp on the dirty water is detrimental to the experience of sailors who have worked for years to compete in Rio. None of the sailors currently practicing in the bay are ill from the water — they’re just sick of the question.”

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