The polluted waters for the open water events at the Rio Olympics may have led to a former Olympic medalist getting sick.
Evi Van Acker, a bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympics, said she didn’t feel well while competing in the Laser Radial class Wednesday in Guanabara Bay for the Rio Olympics. Her coach said, via the AP, that she became sick during a training exercise in the water before the Olympics.
“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.”
Rio officials scrambled to clean the waters before the events began, but the water is still polluted. Anyway, those last-minute efforts wouldn’t have helped any of the many participants who arrived in Rio early to train in the official waters.
Per the Belgian sailing team, Van Acker is the only team member who has been feeling poorly. The country’s Olympic committee said she hasn’t fully recovered from a “serious gastrointestinal infection” from a few weeks ago and is working with a doctor in an attempt to race on Friday.
Before the games began, an expert warned athletes to not put their heads under water. Though if you’re a rower or competing in sailing, it can be nearly impossible to avoid getting splashed. Or from keeping your head out of the water if you crash.
Van Acker is currently in 10th in Laser Radial with four races to go before the medals race and is 26 points outside of medal contention.
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