Megan Kalmoe, an Olympic bronze medalist rower heading to her third Games, has a message for everybody fixated on the water quality in Rio:
Stop trying to ruin the Olympics for us.
“I can’t be sure when the first headlines about the water quality in Rio appeared and the conversation really started,” Kalmoe wrote in a blog post last week. “But ever since then, it seems like it’s all people want to talk about. And I can’t really understand why. At this point, it is known that there are issues with the water quality. It is known that athletes are going to be at risk for illness. It is known that we are going to have to be smart, hygienic and take precautions. Great. Let’s move on.”
Kalmoe, 32, is the senior member of the U.S. women’s quadruple sculls crew, joined by Tracy Eisser, Grace Latz and Adrienne Martelli.
Kalmoe and Eisser were part of the crew that took gold at the 2015 World Championships, setting the U.S. up to potentially take its first Olympic title in the event in Rio.
But Kalmoe, who said she plans to retire after the Olympics, like just about every other U.S. Olympian, is much more often asked about topics she can’t control.
“Why do we insist on indulging this negativity when there is so much potential for a culture of optimism and positivity in and around the Games?” Kalmoe wrote. “As a culture we have a really simple choice when it comes to how we want to frame the conversation around Rio 2016, and at every turn it seems we are choosing to be jerks.
“Every time you ask us to shift our focus from our specialty during the one time in a four-year cycle that we get the opportunity to share our expertise with the world, it’s an unnecessary distraction that we as competitors do not need and should not have to deal with from people who are supposed to be on our side. Every time you steer the conversation away from the athletes and competition and on to things that are outside of our control, you’re suggesting to us: ‘I think you should probably waste some of your energy worrying about this, don’t you?'”Follow @nzaccardi