IOC president: Zika won’t cause countries to pull out of Rio Olympics

Friday February 12th, 2016

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Friday that no countries have expressed intention to withdraw from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of fear of the Zika virus, according to the Associated Press.

Multiple Olympic athletes have already voiced their concerns over competing in the region considered the epicenter of the virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and has been linked to birth defects in children born to mothers carrying the disease.

Most notably, U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo recently told SI she would not go to Rio if the Olympics were to begin today out of concern for her future children.

GOUNDER: Zika virus isn't the only concern for Rio Olympics

“I would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child,” Solo said. “I don’t know when that day will come for [my husband] Jerramy and me, but I personally reserve my right to have a healthy baby. No athlete competing in Rio should be faced with this dilemma.”

Bach has previously said he is confident in the way Olympic organizers were handling preventing the spread of the disease, and have been monitoring mosquito breeding grounds near Olympic venues with the intent to destroy them.

The Zika outbreak was declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization earlier this month.

- Erin Flynn

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