Team USA Olympians Say They Are Reconsidering Attending 2016 Rio Olympics Due To Zika Virus Scare

Numerous members of Team USA are voicing their concerns over attending the 2016 Rio Olympics in light of the Zika virus scare. The United States Olympic Committee has voiced concern, as well, noting that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. The US Olympics Committee says they will not make the decision for athletes, but leave it up to each individual competitor as to whether they would like to compete or not as the Zika virus continues to spread.

The Daily Mail reveals that numerous Team USA Olympians are voicing concerns over the Zika virus in Rio for the 2016 Olympics games. Female athletes have been very vocal about the Zika virus scare, with many reporting that they are still trying to determine if they will attend the Rio games or not. Both golfer Stacy Lewis and runner Alysia Montano have stated that as mothers they are not sure if they will go to Rio in August over concerns related to the Zika virus. Montano says that as a mother the Zika virus scares her, and that she must keep her family as a top priority when considering whether or not to attend the Rio Olympics.

“Having started my family and wanting to expand sometime in the future, it is of great concern. I’m a mom now and worry sometimes rises to the top.”

Like Montano, Lewis also voiced concerns about the location of the 2016 Olympics in regard to the Zika virus threat. Lewis says she can’t say right now if she is going to represent Team USA in the Rio Olympics or not as she will have to wait and see what happens regarding the virus as the games approach.

“I’m a little bit worried – for sure. I don’t think I can sit here and say I’m not going to go if it gets bad. I think you have to see how things play out, but it’s definitely a concern.”

The statements by the Team USA members came as over 100 Olympic athletes descended on Los Angeles for an Olympic media event. It was noted that the Zika virus was a hot topic, and that many of the Team USA members voiced concerns but remained optimistic about being able to attend the games in Rio. As Reuters previously reported, the United States Olympic Committee has informed the U.S. sports federations via conference call that any athlete not comfortable with going to Rio should stay home. In fact, the US Olympic Committee encouraged those with concerns to remain home and to avoid the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Federations were told that no one should go to Brazil if they don’t feel comfortable going. Bottom line.”

With the United States winning the most medals in the 2012 London Olympics, it could be devastating for the Team USA if members decided not to show up. However, the Olympic Committee says that they have not discouraged athletes from attending the games and would never do so.

“Team USA looks forward to the Games and we did not, would not and will not prevent athletes from competing for their country should they qualify.”

Instead, the US Olympics Committee is keeping athletes and organizations updated with the latest Zika virus information so that they can make informed decisions for themselves. The USA National Karate-do Federation provided numerous links to athletes regarding the Zika virus and where to learn more about the outbreak.

Do you think the Zika virus outbreak will hurt the 2016 Rio Olympics? Will all of Team USA show up to compete?

[Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP Photo]