The old adage says it’s better to be safe than sorry, and that is true. However, there are certain times when being cautious can go a little too far, and the 2016 Rio Olympics are a prime example.
The elite swimmers who have trained their entire lives to make it to the Olympics have probably spent more time in the pool than, say, a random lifeguard, so it seems pretty unlikely that they would suddenly forget how to do what they’ve been doing their whole life and start drowning. Should that happen, though, they are protected, as a Brazilian law states that lifeguards must be present at any public pool over a certain size and that includes the Olympics.
The New York Times captured the above image of a bored lifeguard who got a pretty decent seat for an Olympic swimming trial, and reporter John Branch also explained on Instagram that there are 75 lifeguards working the games in Brazil. Branch also noted that in events like Synchronized Swimming, concussions are more prevalent than you may think, which justifies having the lifeguards on duty.