Brazil, which I’m sure is a perfectly lovely country, has an overload of naturally occurring resource. That resource, unfortunately, isn’t diamonds or oil—it’s human excrement, which Olympic athletes will have to swim through if they want to win a medal next summer.
The country’s inability to keep its own feces out of its beautiful waterways isn’t exactly a new issue, but authorities claimed they were working on it. To that end, Rio mayor Eduardo Paes promised the beaches would be clean in time for the Olympics. That was a false promise.
Brazilian officials have assured that the water will be safe for the Olympic athletes and the medical director of the International Olympic Committee said all was on track for providing safe competing venues. But neither the government nor the IOC tests for viruses, relying on bacteria testing only.
Extreme water pollution is common in Brazil, where the majority of sewage is not treated. Raw waste runs through open-air ditches to streams and rivers that feed the Olympic water sites.
As a result, Olympic athletes are almost certain to come into contact with disease-causing viruses that in some tests measured up to 1.7 million times the level of what would be considered hazardous on a Southern California beach.
Despite decades of official pledges to clean up the mess, the stench of raw sewage still greets travelers touching down at Rio’s international airport. Prime beaches are deserted because the surf is thick with putrid sludge, and periodic die-offs leave the Olympic lake, Rodrigo de Freitas, littered with rotting fish.
Just to emphasize: there is so much shit in the water that it literally starts to smell like shit before you even get off the plane. And Olympians don’t even have to wait until 2016; they’re getting sick just training in Rio for the games.
It’s turning into a vicious shit cycle, according to the AP—some athletes have “already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea,” meaning they’re adding even more shit to the shit pile we once called the Atlantic Ocean.
Happy games :)