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Don’t Eat The Sand In Rio

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

As the 2016 Rio Olympic Games begins and heroic athletic performances are unfolding before the global media, we heard radio announcers in Los Angeles recommend that people “do not eat the sand” in Rio de Janeiro due to poor water quality.

It is advice that we are sure the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors will follow – simply out of common sense.

McClatchy journalists report [here], “Just days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria, according to a 16-month-long study commissioned by The Associated Press.

Not only are some 1,400 athletes at risk of getting violently ill in water competitions, but the AP’s tests indicate that tourists also face potentially serious health risks on the golden beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.”

We will be watching carefully to learn, if indeed, tourists will be falling ill on Copacabana Beach as predicted – especially since many of the world’s media are reporting from the sands of Copacabana – the very sand they are reminded not to eat.

The global media points to an Associated Press survey of Copacabana Beach that “has revealed consistent and dangerously high levels of viruses from the pollution…a major black eye on Rio’s Olympic project that has set off alarm bells among open water swimmers.”

We beg to differ based on our personal experiences swimming in Copacabana Beach over the past six years.

But biomedical expert Valerie Harwood advised visitors and athletes in Rio de Janeiro, “Don’t put your head under water.”

We are 100% sure that the Olympic triathletes and marathon swimmers have received different information, have different personal experiences, and will follow the advice of Los Angeles radio announcers – even without being told.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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