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SBD Global/August 15, 2014/Olympics

Water Quality At Rio's Guanabara Bay Surprises As City Passes First Olympic Test

Rio de Janeiro "passed its first 2016 Olympics test with the end of an international sailing regatta on Guanabara Bay, one of the most heavily criticized venues in a city under attack for disorganization and construction delays," according to Jeb Blount of REUTERS. During the week-long event many athletes and coaches "were surprised to find the bay's notoriously dirty water -- infamous for raw sewage, floating garbage, boat-battering debris and animal corpses -- to be far cleaner than expected." New Zealand sailor Jo Aleh said, "I noticed a big difference, there was a lot less rubbish in the water than there was a year ago." Concern Rio will not meet its cleanup goals "has eased enough" that Austrian sailing federation Sports Dir Jorge Fundak "is pushing organizers to hold more races in the bay and fewer in the cleaner open ocean." He said that "it is harder for TV to cover events outside the bay." Eilidh McIntyre, part of New Zealand's two-person team that took ninth place in the Women's 470 Class, said that "concerns about the water were understandable but exaggerated." McIntyre said, "Most days the water was crystal clear. We saw dolphins. We did see a dead dog. But you can run into something like that almost anywhere" (REUTERS, 8/14)
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