The Olympic diving pool at Rio 2016 has changed color from blue to green and no one seems to be 100 percent sure why. The Wall Street Journal reports that the color change happened ahead of the 10-meter platform women’s synchronized diving final, baffling the Rio Olympic Games organizers who were left struggling to find an explanation.
It looks like somebody let a class of 1st graders swim in the Olympic diving pool last night pic.twitter.com/4dtbJ4ipiZ
— Kyle McDowell (@KyleMcDowell86) August 9, 2016
“We don’t know why it turned green,” Rio 2016 Organizing Committee spokesman Mario Andrada said. “But we know there’s no risk because we did all the tests we regularly do…and the test showed the same result as when the pool was blue.”
But it looks like the divers weren’t taking any chances.
“It’s not really the blue that we’re used to,” Canadian diver Meaghan Benfeito said to the Wall Street Journal. “The only thing we said is: ‘Don’t open your mouth in the water, just in case.'”
As expected, social media jumped in to comment on the strange phenomenon, offering memes and ideas on why the water changed from blue to green.
That Olympic diving pool though… pic.twitter.com/r04RAJgqkd
— Will Buxton (@thebuxtonblog) August 9, 2016
Rumour has it finding nemo was actually set in the Olympic diving pool pic.twitter.com/zN72gHaX26
— Dougie MacDowall (@DougieMacdowall) August 9, 2016
— Danny Kelly (@dannykellywords) August 9, 2016
What the hell has happened to the Olympic diving pool? pic.twitter.com/V7YCI2T5MY
— Percy Varco (@PercyVarco) August 9, 2016
Social media quips aside, some have provided what seems to be plausible reasons for the Olympic diving pool color change. One of them is algae, Business Insider reports.
“Everybody was scratching their heads going, ‘What’s going on?'” said Canada’s diving team leader, Mitch Geller. “I think that the filter is busted, but I’m not sure. It’s not really dangerous. It’s not like it’s toxic or dirty or any of that. It seemed to get worse over the course of the competition.”
The green water doesn’t just look suspicious, it can also a real hindrance to the divers because it’s really important for them to be able to see the bottom of the pool.
“They’re used to seeing the water,” Geller said. “The visuals are really, really important in diving.”
The good news is that it doesn’t seem like the water smelled foul or irritated the divers’ skin, based on Mexico’s Paola Espinosa’s account of the day.
“I haven’t seen anything like it before,” Espinosa said. “But it’s Brazil and everything is green down here, so maybe it was a decoration to make it look pretty.”
The color change at the Olympic diving pool in Rio echoes concerns for the pollution in other bodies of water at the Olympics’ host city.
Before the opening ceremony on August 6, there were fears that Rio de Janeiro’s water quality would be unfit for athletes participating in sailing and swimming events.
According to a 16-month long study by The Associated Press, water sources in Rio are seriously contaminated with raw sewage, bacteria, and virus. This would put the athletes and the visitors at the Olympics in serious danger of getting violently ill.
“Don’t put your head under water,” bio-medical expert, Valerie Harwood, advises people at The Olympics.
According to the AP study, the most contaminated waterways are the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which is hosting the Olympic rowing competition, and the Gloria Marina, which is the starting point for the sailing events
Testing at the Lagoon in March 2015 showed an alarming 1.73 billion adenoviruses per liter of water. Recent testing about a year later showed that the adenovirus readings had dropped but was still at a very high 248 million adenoviruses per liter. In California, adenovirus readings in the thousands are considered cause for intense concern, AP reports
[Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images]