USOC collecting data on polluted Rio Olympic water venues

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The U.S. Olympic Committee has been collecting data regarding the state of pollution in the Rio Olympic outdoor water venues and determining precautionary measures for American athletes.

Not one water venue for the Rio Olympics is safe for swimming or boating, according to an Associated Press investigation into water quality a little more than one year before the Games.

USOC chief of sport performance Alan Ashley said he’s aware of the report and that the welfare of the athletes is his highest priority.

“I’ve actually been thinking about this and paying very close attention to it for quite some time,” Ashley said Thursday, adding later that he would hypothetically canoe in those waters.

Ashley did not mention specific measures being taken in advance of Olympic test events and qualifiers in triathlon, sailing and open-water swimming scheduled for August in Rio.

“It’s mostly just collecting data,” Ashley said.

Athletes at the three water venues shared by canoeing, sailing, rowing, triathlon, open-water swimming have a 99 percent chance of infection if they ingested three teaspoons of water, a U.S. expert in risk assessment for waterborne viruses told the AP.

“What you have there is basically raw sewage,” John Griffith, a marine biologist at the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project said after examining the AP tests, according to the report. “It’s all the water from the toilets and the showers and whatever people put down their sinks, all mixed up, and it’s going out into the beach waters. Those kinds of things would be shut down immediately if found here [in the U.S.].”

In April, an International Sailing Federation official threatened to have the Olympic sailing events moved from Rio’s Guanabara Bay if action wasn’t quickly taken to clean it after a “super bacteria” was found in the bay.

Rio officials pledged last spring and winter that the water quality will be improved and ready for competition next summer. The AP reported that it tested for viruses, while the government and the International Olympic Committee rely on bacteria testing only.

U.S. Olympic Sailing managing director Josh Adams said Thursday that US Sailing continues to view the Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay as a safe place to sail.

“We’ve been training in Rio for several years without incident,” Adams said in a phone interview, one week before he travels to Rio to prepare for an Olympic test event with a full team of U.S. sailors. “We’ve gained valuable experience in Guanabara Bay. We’ve been monitoring the situation and encourage efforts to clean up the bay.”

Adams, who hasn’t been to Rio since last August’s test event, said he’s not aware of any U.S. sailors not wanting to compete at Guanabara Bay.

“There are concerns about water pollution in Guanabara Bay, as we’ve been well aware of for several years,” Adams said. “There’s really two issues. There’s the contents of the water, the actual water itself, and then there’s debris in the water. … They’re really two separate issues. We’re satisfied that organizers are working to control the amount of debris.”

Adams said there’s been no change since last August’s test event in Rio in the preventative measures U.S. sailors have been advised to take before traveling to Brazil or competing in Guanabara Bay.

“Our medical experts who we count on for their expertise in the subject, they made some recommendations, and we still follow those recommendations,” he said.

An Olympic triathlon qualifying event in Rio de Janeiro is Sunday, featuring U.S. gold-medal favorite Gwen Jorgensen.

“Athlete safety is always of the utmost importance to USA Triathlon, and we take this situation very seriously,” USA Triathlon CEO Rob Urbach said in a statement. “We are in direct conversation with our athletes and listening closely to any concerns. We will continue to work collaboratively with all involved organizations and federations to help protect the health of those competing at the Olympic and Paralympic test events in Rio. We have been assured by applicable regulatory bodies that the water quality meets required standards. As part of our overall efforts, we are offering a preventative medical management plan on-site to all of our athletes.”

Neymar: I told Barcelona I want to play in Rio Olympics

Mikaela Shiffrin returns with mantra, stuck to her helmet, to carry forever

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Look close at Mikaela Shiffrin as she steps into a race start gate for the first time in eight months on Oct. 17.

Shiffrin, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Cup overall champion, plans to wear a helmet with two special stickers on the back.

She’s donned the first decal for years — the initials ABFTTB, which stand for “Always Be Faster Than The Boys,” a personalized autograph motto from retired Olympic Alpine skier Heidi Voelker.

The new sticker reads, Be nice. Think first. Have fun.

Those lines came from Shiffrin’s father, Jeff — the mantra instilled in her and older brother Taylor, also a young ski racer at the time.

After Jeff died on Feb. 2, Shiffrin regularly remembered the question that Jeff posed years ago: “What are the golden rules?”

Be nice. Think first.

When the Shiffrin siblings were old enough, Jeff added the third rule.

“He felt like we could understand that having fun wasn’t just about going and doing whatever you want because it’s instantly gratifying,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports’ Alex Azzi in an On Her Turf interview. “Fun is doing something well and the satisfaction you get from sticking to something.”

She plans to race all season with the golden rules sticker on her helmet, right next to ABFTTB.

Shiffrin detailed more about her prep for a very different World Cup campaign, in conjunction with a new fund in honor of her late father, in this On Her Turf report.

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2020 Tour de France results

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2020 Tour de France results for the yellow jersey, green jersey, white jersey and polka-dot jersey …

Overall (Yellow Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — +:59
3. Richie Porte (AUS) — +3:30
4. Mikel Landa (ESP) — +5:58
5. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — +6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED) — +7:48
8. Rigberto Uran (COL) — +8:02
9. Adam Yates (GBR) — +9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA) — +14:03
13. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — +25:53
15. Sepp Kuss (USA) — +42:20
17. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +1:03:07
29. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) — +1:59:54
36. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) — +2:19:11
DNF. Egan Bernal (COL)

Sprinters (Green Jersey)
1. Sam Bennett (IRL) — 380 points
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) — 284
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA) — 260
4. Bryan Coquard (FRA) — 181
5. Wout van Aert (BEL) — 174

Climbers (Polka-Dot Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 82 points
2. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — 74
3. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — 67
4. Marc Hirschi (SUI) — 62
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — 51

Young Rider (White Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:13
2. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
3. Valentin Madouas (FRA) — +1:42:43
4. Dani Martinez (COL) — +1:55:12
5. Lennard Kamna (GER) — +2:15:39

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