Back in July, the Associated Press conducted a series of tests on the waters around Rio where several Olympic events will be held in 2016. They found a bunch of shit. Literally, the water is brimming with human feces and other wretched gunk.
Experts have deemed the water unfit for competition because the levels of virus and bacteria are so high they pose a health risk to athletes. But the Rio state environmental agency denies that and the IOC continues to call the water is safe.
The AP, like a good news organization, is dead set on getting to the truth of the matter, so reporters returned to Rio to conduct more tests. The findings, reported on Wednesday, show that the fetid stew of raw sewage is worse than previously thought.
For its new tests the AP went further away from the shore. Surely the water that doesn't have human waste pouring directly into it would be cleaner, right? Nah. Water samples taken as far as three-quarters of a mile off shore had pathogens at levels "30,000 times higher than what is considered alarming in the U.S. and Europe," the AP reports.
The problem here is less the disgusting water (though that's obviously a huge problem) than the unwillingness of Brazilian authorities and IOC officials to actually address the issue ahead of the 2016 Olympics. The continued reassurances that the water is safe are clearly false. Just a few months ago, Rio's waters hosted a handful of sailing and rowing events, after which loads of athletes were left sickened.
Now, with only 250 days until the Olympics, some are advising athletes to give up on any hopes of a clean up. As one water expert told the AP, "I would probably go early and get exposed and build up my immunity system to these viruses before I had to compete, because I don't see how they're going to solve this sewage problem."
Photos by Felipe Dana / AP