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.