Of all the infrastructure problems facing the Rio Olympics, the most worrisome and dangerous of all was the infected water that all the aquatic sports that take place outside of pools would have to deal with. Rowers and sailors came to the games knowing that they would be competing in waters filled with, among other things, human feces and antiobiotic-resistant bacteria.
It was only a matter of time before an Olympic athlete reported falling ill due to the abysmal conditions, and the first unlucky one is 2012 Belgian sailing bronze medalist Evi Van Acker. Frankly, it’s surprising it took this long. According to her coach, Van Acker contracted the illness while training before the Olympics, and it’s hampering her ability to defend her medal:
“Evi caught a bacteria in early July that causes dysentery,” coach Wil Van Bladel said. “Doctors say this can seriously disrupt energy levels for three months. It became clear yesterday that she lacked energy during tough conditions. She could not use full force for a top condition. … The likelihood that she caught it here during contact with the water is very big.”
The timeframe that Van Bladel references mean we could be seeing stories about infected athletes popping up for weeks after the games. It’s easy to forget all the horrible externalities that surround every Olympics once they’re under way, but that doesn’t mean they ceased to exist.