List of US athletes not going to Olympics is growing

Golden State Warrior and NBA MVP Stephen Curry has announced he’s not going. He told USA Basketball and his team that he wants to use the time to heal his knee. But could the Zika Virus have anything to do with it?

Other NBA stars have expressed concern about the Zika virus in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, home of this summer’s Olympics. Andre Iguadola, Pau Gasol, and possible even Russell Westbrook and LeBron James have expressed reservations, according to Michael Thompson of the Bay Area News Group.

American cyclist Tejay van Garderen recently withdrew his name from consideration for the U.S. Olympic cycling team over concerns about the Zika virus in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

SB Nation reports PGA golfer Rory McIlroy may pull out of consideration.

Some NBC staffers don’t want to travel to Rio to cover the games this summer. The reason: Zika.

“I have a family. I have small children and for me, at least, the trip seems too risky. I might want to get pregnant soon.” — NBC employee told The Daily News.

Should the Olympics be moved or canceled?

150 academics, including a former White House science advisor, sent an open letter to the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggesting the Olympics be canceled or moved. One of the authors is Amir Attaran from University of Ottawa, who has raised the alarm, citing stats that show Rio has recorded 26,000 cases (suspected) of having the Zika virus.

“What is proposed is to bring half-a-million Olympic visitors into the heart of the epidemic. But for the Games, would anyone recommend sending an extra half-a-million visitors into Brazil right now?” — Amir Attaran to the Guardian.

WHO has now responded, saying that the Olympics does not “ significantly alter” any spread of the Zika virus. It says that athletes taking proper precautions should not face any increased risk.

“Based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus.” — WHO

Curry says it’s not about Zika

Curry, for is part, says it’s all about the rest. With two appearances in The Finals in the past two years, he’s put a lot of mileage on his body. He’s had more than his share of injuries in his career and maybe it is what it is.

“My previous experiences with USA Basketball have been incredibly rewarding, educational and enjoyable, which made this an extremely difficult decision for me and my family. However, due to several factors — including recent ankle and knee injuries — I believe this is the best decision for me at this stage of my career. It’s an incredible honor to represent your country and wear ‘USA’ on your chest, but my primary basketball-related objective this summer needs to focus on my body and getting ready for the 2016–17 NBA season.” — Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors’ statement
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