RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The International Sailing Federation announced Wednesday that CEO Peter Sowrey has resigned after just five months on the job.
ISAF, tasked with staging an Olympic regatta in the sewage-infested waters in Rio de Janeiro in eight months, didn’t offer an explanation other than that Sowrey “has now decided to pursue other challenges suited to his background.”
Federation spokesman Malcolm Page didn’t return an email seeking further comment.
W. Scott Perry, a member of ISAF’s executive committee, declined comment, referring questions to an outside agency.
That agency simply repeated what was in the ISAF statement.
On Wednesday, The Associated Press released results of a new round of testing that shows Rio’s Olympic waterways are as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land, where raw sewage flows into them from fetid rivers and storm drains. That means there is no dilution factor in the bay or lagoon where events will take place and no less risk to the health of athletes like sailors competing farther from the shore.
Perry told the AP in mid-September that it was impossible to move the venue but that ISAF was “regularly monitoring the situation and any efforts to improve the water. Be assured that the water quality in Guanabara Bay is of great concern to us.”
Sailors have put on brave faces about competing in Rio.
But at least one became seriously ill after a test regatta in August. Erik Heil of Germany was treated at a Berlin hospital for MRSA, a flesh-eating bacteria, after that regatta.
Besides dealing with the Rio sewage issue, ISAF has been criticized by several sailors and others in the sailing community for the actions of its international jury before the 2013 America’s Cup. The jury handed down the harshest penalties in America’s Cup history in a cheating scandal involving Oracle Team USA.
One sailor took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which found fault with both the sailor and ISAF. CAS suggested that the governing body make several changes to its disciplinary process.