Gold, Silver, Bronze & Green

For months leading up to the Rio Olympic games, officials and athletes voiced concerns over the water quality in the city's waterways, where swimming, sailing and other open water events will take place. Reports described sewage- and garbage-laden water rife with bacteria - one New York Times article even included a photo of a body floating in Guanabara Bay. 

It turns out open water venues are not the only health concern facing athletes competing in water sports in Rio. On Tuesday, the diving pool turned a garish green and the adjacent water polo and synchronized swimming pool followed suit the next day. Competition continued, even though athletes in the synchronized diving event said they would not even see their partners, just a few feet away, through the murky water. 

While memes and jokes abounded online, officials from different organizations offered competing explanations, from a change in alkalinity, to an algae bloom, to a lack of necessary chemicals. Rio officials insist the water is safe, but some experts disagree. Ralph Riley of the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group told USA Today the chemicals officials speak of are likely disinfectants - and improper disinfection could, of course, lead to unsafe conditions. 

What do you think is causing the green water? What is your opinion on continuing competition through potentially unsafe conditions? Tell us in the comments below, or email us at [email protected].

Kate Cline is editor-in-chief of WQP. Cline can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1007.

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