On August 2 - 9, 2014 a full on test of the entire system of running a regatta as similar to the Olympics as possible with 324 athletes, in 215 boats from 34 nations was held in Guanabara Bay, Rio. According to ESPN (AP), the organizer's press release said, "all objectives were "successfully reached"", and "the Games' first test came to a close "with a sense of mission accomplished.""
All ten "Eco Boats" or, "on the water farm harvesting tractors," were in operation removing trash from the surface of the racing area. It sounds like they're ready, right? Here's the reality -
7/30/2014 Around the Rings (Austrian Sailors):
- Members of the Austrian sailing team said a boat was damaged by garbage at the Aquece Rio test event.
8/3/2014 The Daily Telegraph (Australian Sailing Coach):
- Australian coach Victor Kovalenko yesterday told The Daily Telegraph a fellow coach has already fallen ill while he is sporting a rash he believes is from being splashed by the polluted water in Guanabara Bay.
8/8/2014 The Courier Mail, 8/8/2014 (Australian Sailors):
- MULTIPLE world champion sailor Darren Bundock and crewmate Nina Curtis have been up way too close and personal with rubbish-strewn waters at Rio’s Olympic test event, with the pair tipped into the murk after hitting an unidentified submerged object. “Yesterday was the first time we really raced in an out-going tide and dodging rubbish was the order of the day,” he said. “We started the day well but in the second race we hit something going upwind under the water.”
- Later, the rudder on the Nacra 17 popped up, believed to have hit another object, and Bundock and Curtis spun out of control again. They capsized and finished 15th.
8/11/2014 Chris Barnard Sailing (American Sailor):
- "I began to feel very nauseous towards the end of the race. I tried to refuel and rehydrate between races to try and shake off the bugs. However in the final race of the day, the stomach cramps got progressively worse. "
If this was "success" Webster needs to change the definition of the word in their dictionary. This actually was a complete utter disaster and FAIL. Rio is not prepared to host the Sailing Olympics in Guanabara Bay. They need to swallow a little of their pride and shift the event elsewhere in their country where the water is much cleaner. Guanabara Bay cannot provide a fair competition for either the boats hitting obstructions, or for the athletes and their coaches health - period. That data is in.
Even Jesus Christ saw this occur from his perch up on Sugarloaf Mountain overlooking the Bay. Olympic Sailing can be reborn in another sailing site elsewhere in Brazil. It can.
Was this an isolated event? Have there been other reports of boats running into debris or athlete's health jeopardized?
4/16/2015 CNN (Brazilian Sailors):
- WATCH THE VIDEO "Last week, newly obtained video from newspaper O Globo showed a sailor crashing into trash floating on Guanabara Bay" capsizing, the sailors falling into the sails damaging them.
3/20/2014 Sailing Anarchy (Danish Sailor):
- "Last December Alan Norregaard, ........was just barely edging out Nico Delle Karth for first place as he approached the windward mark in the 2nd race of the 2013 Intergalactic Championships in Guanabara Bay.............And then disaster struck when his 49er shuddered to a halt. He and his crew watched helplessly as the entire fleet passed by............they peered into the murky water to see what had happened and what they saw was both infuriating and outrageous: their 49er was stopped dead in the water by a large plastic bag wrapped around their centerboard, floating haphazardly in the bay."
2/25/2015 Ottawa Citizen (British Sailor):
- "Despite Mr. Pezao’s remarks and a report by the BBC about a British sailor who said he fell ill after his boat capsized in the bay two months ago........"
1/29/2014 Around the Rings (Swiss Sailor):
- "Baulic trained for two weeks in the Bay earlier this year, and said he became sick for a few days during his training. One possible culprit is the Bay's water. Baluic said he understands others sailors have had similar symptoms after sailing in Rio."
1/10/2014 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (British Sailor):
- "I was ill just before Christmas. It could have been from the capsize that we had, or from something I ate," says British sailor Alain Sign at Niteroi's Sao Francisco Beach.
12/7/2013 The Star, 12/7/2013 (Danish Sailor):
- “I would definitely not swim in it,” (Allan) Norregaard said. “We have had a couple of incidents where people went in the water and came up with red dots on their body. I don’t know what’s in the water, but it’s definitely not healthy.”
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