American Olympians as Guinea Pigs in Rio
There is supposed to be a global sporting and cultural event that is taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil starting in about three weeks. Athletes are competing for medals but there is also something else going on that American athletes did not sign up for but will be given the opportunity to participate in. It is a study of the zika virus and how it affects the body. The Brazilian government has downplayed the zika virus. The World Health Organization, an arm of the United Nations, has said it is a horrific virus with dire consequences but for the Olympics, it is no big deal. American athletes, coaches and staff do not have to participate in what can be best described as a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Carrie Byington from the University of Utah would like to have one thousand Americans enrolled in her study. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be part of the testing as well. It seems that the United States Olympic Committee is anticipating that people are going to indeed get sick. If that happens, why not have athletes become subjects for testing to see how the zika virus works? The study will include the spouses and sexual partners of the American delegation to the Rio Olympics. It has been suggested that the United States Olympic Committee has been pressuring American athletes to attend the Games. The testing for the zika virus and looking for answers about the life of the virus probably was the last thing most of the American delegation thought about while preparing for the Rio Games.
The study is just another problem facing the Rio Olympics with water pollution, crime, financial difficulties, the impeachment of the country’s president, formal investigations of bribery and embezzlement and transportation difficulties being part of the list. However, the Games must go on.
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner