Posts Tagged ‘rio2016’
Brad Funk really is the definition of an Anarchist, marching to a completely different beat, restrained only by his own ethical compass, a love of nature, and occasional commands from the Martian overlords and vapor trail creators. And while the Funkster may have missed out (again) on the Olympics, he made it down to Rio and already is making a bigger splash than any of the sailors. Here’s an inspiring Olympic story that hit about a thousand international publications thanks to a pickup from Reuters…
There’s something in the water at the Rio Olympics. In fact, there are a lot of things — condoms, cans, shoes, diapers, plastic bags, rotaviruses, superbacteria, raw sewage and the occasional corpse.
Best not to touch, smell or swallow. If you’re an Olympic sailor, best not to capsize. If you’re an Olympic open-water swimmer, best to have a cast-iron stomach.
Guanabara Bay is spectacularly challenging and notoriously polluted. Sailors have a love-hate relationship with the venue of powerful currents, shifting breezes and hazardous levels of e coli. One lousy piece of debris that catches on a centerboard or wraps around a rudder can ruin a race.
But a brave and selfless man — Fort Lauderdale’s Brad Funk — made it his mission to clean up the contaminated bay on behalf of his fellow sailors. It was a Sisyphean task — akin to one gardener irrigating the Sahara desert — but Funk tried. Wearing two pairs of gloves, wielding nets and baskets, Funk scooped nearly 800 pounds of junk out of the bay where his friends will compete starting Monday.
“No Olympic medal should be won or lost because of trash in the water,” he said. “Rio is my favorite place in the world to sail and it would be a shame if the regatta was compromised by pollution.”
Funk made his garbage-collecting forays on a boat named Ulysses. He did not encounter Cyclops or Circe. But he did have to navigate through a fetid stew of dead fish, floating furniture and submerged TVs.
August 8th, 2016 by admin
As Mr. Clean works on the report of his 8-day trip hanging with the US Sailing Team Sperry, combing through the pollution of Guanabara Bay, and the endless ass parade that are Copacabana and Ipanema Beach, we figured we’d share some information with you that explains why we don’t ask Olympic Athletes whether they ‘feel comfortable’ competing in nasty and dangerous water. Because around half of them would literally choose death in five years if it guaranteed them a medal. From a New York Times piece on doping comes this description of the Goldman Dilemma, and here’s a pertinent study.
There’s a well-known survey in sports, known as the Goldman Dilemma. For it, a researcher, Bob Goldman, began asking elite athletes in the 1980s whether they would take a drug that guaranteed them a gold medal but would also kill them within five years. More than half of the athletes said yes. When he repeated the survey biannually for the next decade, the results were always the same. About half of the athletes were quite ready to take the bargain.
Only recently did researchers get around to asking nonathletes the same question. In results published online in February, 2009 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, exactly 2 of the 250 people surveyed in Sydney, Australia, said that they would take a drug that would ensure both success and an early death. “We were surprised,” James Connor, Ph.D., a lecturer at the University of New South Wales and one of the study’s authors, said in an e-mail message. “I expected 10-20 percent yes.” His conclusion, unassailable if inexplicable, is that “elite athletes are different from the general population, especially on desire to win.”
Check back later in the week for Sailing Anarchy’s carefully researched and written onclusion on the water problem. And in the meantime, let’s give new ISAF CEO Peter Sowery some props for at least getting a threat to move the racing on record.
August 24th, 2015 by admin
UPDATE: Associated Press reporter Stephen Wade did a little more digging after reading the SA piece below. His update is here.
You won’t see it in any official ISAF or IOC report, but the first major casualty (that we know about, anyway) of the Guanabara Bay pollution epidemic is now in a local hospital. One of the top light-air RS:X specialists, Korean boardsailor Wonwoo Choo, was rushed to an ambulance yesterday afternoon with high fever, vomiting, chills, and dehydration. More from “Danny OK”, and please share his post on the IOC and ISAF Facebook pages as many times as you can. Only the most unrelenting pressure can force change against the tide of corruption, laziness, incompetence, and downright apathy, and only when Rio understands that this scandal may kill off what is left of their dwindling tourism industry will the local government do something about it. Here’s Danny’s post:
More than 10 years of life-time effort can be destroyed in one day! This is not an emergency situation, but it’s very disappointing. He has been sick since last night with a high fever, vomiting and coldness, and he is now fully dehydrated.
It seems he got infected from virus somewhere in the racing site which is supposed to be safe and clean as an Olympic venue. I hope this wouldn’t happen again not only for us, but for all sailors who compete on the same play ground.
Additionally, I hope IOC and ISAF must consider how the safety issue will be improved for the next year.
We may not able to clear all the issues, but we could minimize the risks.
August 19th, 2015 by admin
We may not have come down to Brazil specifically to investigate the water pollution problems, but the situation is inescapable, and yesterday’s discovery of an open sewage outfall less than 50 feet from the main Olympic Sailing Center launch ramp was, well, shocking. Local authorities panicked and sent over an oil containment crew with a floating boom…but that ain’t oil, and the inside of the Olympic harbor is now half water, half poo. It’s one thing for a huge 3rd world city to have sewage problems, and our final report from Brazil will get deep into a situation which is neither uncommon nor surprising in a Latin American metropolis, but the level of incompetence required to have thousands of gallons of untreated waste flowing in the one place that every sailor touches every day, and that every reporter sees every morning? It simply defies belief.
And the hits keep on coming; a 5-man media team was held at gunpoint and robbed of cameras and phones while covering the cycing test event yesterday, the same day hundreds of thousands of protestors – including tens of thousands on Copacabana and Ipanema – blocked major roads across Brazil while calling for the impeachment or military ouster of recently elected president Dilma Roussef. Think American politics are messy? She’s got an 8% approval rating…
On a much more positive note, the US Sailing Team Sperry seems to be continually improving, with a good start in the Laser and Radial, and a great start in the 470 (and a seemingly healthy team, barring a few bruises). The US currently holds second place in three classes, in fleets that are largely the same as they’ll be next year. Peaking early, or a sign of great things to come? We’re on the ground to find the answer. Listen to yesterday’s interview with 470 chicks Bri and Annie here, and watch these pages for more. Test Event Results here.
Onne Van Der Wal photo of new dad Stu McNay and Dave Hughes.
August 17th, 2015 by admin
For almost two years we have been railing against the ridiculous state of affairs at Rio’s Olympic sailing venue, but official reactions from ISAF, the IOC and pretty much every other organization with an interest has been to plunge their heads deeply into sand. We’ve wondered how long they could go on without meaningful action, but a report published today may change all that.
Despite multiple reports that Rio 2016 officials have already failed on the ‘guarantee’ they made on the water quality of the olympic sailing and rowing venues for the 2016 games, local politicians are still disputing the science with bullshit stunts like this one, and credibility challenged statements like last month’s from Rio2016 organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada. Adrada said that Rio would “guarantee safe competition and we will guarantee the health of the athletes,” although it’s pretty clear that a guarantee from the Rio2016 Committee is worth about as much as a bucketfull of the shit at the water’s edge in Guanabara. And remember: They’ve already told us there’s no way in hell they’ll change the venue to a safer one…because dustbuster boats.
While the questionable value of Rio2016′s ‘guarantees’ is fairly obvious, quantifiable scientific data on just how nasty the water is was not; most national teams funded their own independent water quality tests, but judging from the official zeal with which those test results were guarded, there was some shit in there that no team wanted the public to see.
Those guarding the results have just learned what happens when you’re a little too good at hiding the truth, because the Associated Press got motivated enough to find the truth to spend a small fortune on it.
AP commissioned four rounds of testing in each of the three Olympic water venues and off Ipanema Beach. Their summary? “Not one water venue [is] safe for swimming or boating, according to global water experts.”
Multiple national officials over the past year have told us that their investigations were ‘inconclusive’ or ‘showed manageable levels’ or some other crock of shit designed to avoid making waves, so it was surprising to see such unquestionable lab results from the AP tests, which:
found high counts of active and infectious human adenoviruses, which multiply in the intestinal and respiratory tracts of people. These are viruses that are known to cause respiratory and digestive illnesses, including explosive diarrhea and vomiting, but can also lead to more serious heart, brain and other diseases.
The concentrations of the viruses in all tests were roughly equivalent to that seen in raw sewage — even at one of the least-polluted areas tested, the Copacabana Beach, where marathon and triathlon swimming will take place and where many of the expected 350,000 foreign tourists may take a dip.
Perhaps most importantly, the test results viral discoveries call into question all national teams’ strategies of disease prevention. Basically, you’re going to get sick if you spend any amount of time in the water or catching spray. From the report:
Kristina Mena, a U.S. expert in risk assessment for waterborne viruses, examined the AP data and estimated that international athletes at all water venues would have a 99 percent chance of infection if they ingested just three teaspoons of water — though whether a person will fall ill depends on immunity and other factors…Viruses can enter the body through the mouth, eyes, any orifice, or even a small cut.
The certainty of infection, and the risk of much nastier bugs they didn’t test for, creates a new problem for every official associated with the event; they can no longer claim that death/disease/complications/infection wasn’t foreseeable for their competitors. And under the laws of quite a few nations, that means they may be liable in court if and when the shit hits the fan. SA’s Legal Research Department isn’t sure whether this liability could extend to the directors or CEOs of national sailing teams, but if there’s one thing that can motivate action when even concern for the health and safety of competitors can’t, it’s the threat of multimillion dollar lawsuits.
One of the few good eggs at ISAF – Head of Competitions Alastair Fox – made some noise about moving the venue back in April, but was quickly silenced. Will Alastair or anyone else at ISAF have the balls to do something about it, especially now that they are properly on notice about just how bad it is?
July 30th, 2015 by admin