clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rio Games Having Serious Issues

Zika gets the attention but there are many other problems as well.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Despite all the issues, Olympic assistant coach Jim Boeheim is fairly relaxed.
Despite all the issues, Olympic assistant coach Jim Boeheim is fairly relaxed.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard not to think that the Olympics are turning disastrous. That's often the case just before the games start. When the Russians hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014, entire hotels weren't ready just before the crowds showed up. The infrastructure simply wasn't done.

If you're going to shop Amazon please start here and help DBR
Drop us a line at our new address

Yet it came off reasonably well, all things considered.

This summer may be a bit different.

Brazil is dealing with a crippled economy and a very unhappy populace, a constitutional crisis, a very serious criminal economy which will require 85,000 armed forces to suppress in order to safeguard tourists and at least five sites which will host water events are contaminated with dangerous bacteria commonly known as super bugs.

These are lethal bacteria with a high mortality rate which can't be relieved with standard courses of treatment.

And then there's Zika.

The pictures of babies born with microcephaly are frightening many people, and most of all women who would like to have children.

Women's soccer goalie Hope Solo has expressed reservations about Rio; she's surely not the only female athlete to worry.

Or male for that matter.

Chicago Bull Pau Gasol may not play for Spain because of his concerns.  Aussie and Golden State Warrior Andrew Bogut is also wary.

It may be somewhat overblown, at least for male athletes. Jim Boeheim has a fairly sensible take on the virus and the games:

"The NBA's putting out a big study. They had 17,000 athletes down there this summer to test. Not one case had contracted (the virus). It's winter time now. Cases are much slower now, anyway. But the NBA is going to put out an extensive report probably within the week. The experts feel that there's nothing to be worried about. If you're pregnant, it's probably not a good idea to go. Not too many athletes at this stage are pregnant."

Fair enough. Our understanding of Zika is minimal, other than microcephaly. If we were going to Rio, our questions would be:

Are there any long-term concerns in general?

How long can the virus stay in the blood stream?

If a man contracted Zika, how long could it be spread by sexual contact?

If a woman contracted it, how long until she could safely conceive?

One of the lesser publicized aspects of any Olympics is that every Olympic village goes through tens of thousands of condoms.

This year, the IOC will distribute 450,000.

So clearly sexual contact will take place on a rather significant scale.

Everyone has a right to make up his or her mind about what level of risk is appropriate and Boeheim is the furthest thing from a medical expert.

Still, his comments make sense. We'd be more concerned about the superbug than we would about Zika.

Some of the condom baskets in the swimmer's lobby may stay fuller than usual.