FINA Finally Recognizes Health Hazards With Rio Waters

Photo Courtesy: Roberto Tietzmann


Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS

FINA, the international governing body for the sport of swimming, has finally blasted meet organizers of the 2016 Rio Olympics over “what it says are substandard facilities and ‘disrespect’ for aquatic events” according to the Associated Press in an article in the USA Today.

In a letter sent out yesterday by FINA president Julio Maglione to Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, FINA railed against the lack of construction on the main pool area as well as on the health risks of the open water venue.

“The recent decisions of Mr. Eduardo Paes … are seriously damaging the image and value of FINA and its disciplines,” the letter states according to the AP. “This situation is in clear disrespect for the FINA requirements concerning aquatic venues, and will negatively affect the safety conditions and the level of performances of our athletes.”

Also according to the AP:

Four-time Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov is quoted in the letter as saying that swimming conditions in Rio would be “a step back in relation to previous editions” of the Olympics.

FINA is truly upset because of the cut in spectator seats in the new design of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, which will now only seat up to 13,000 people instead of the 17,500 at the previous Olympics.  That’s a huge hit financially with that many tickets sold now being off the table.

“Therefore, the main venue of the leading sport from the Olympic movement … is diminished in terms of importance and value,” the letter states.

“Providing less available space for TV, media, athletes and spectators, this will naturally have its negative impact in terms of the coverage of the Olympic competition and in terms of working conditions for all those using the venue.”

The letter also demands Rio do more thorough testing of the health issues at the open water venus at Copacabana beach. This, after a five-month independent study by the AP demonstrated unhealthy levels of viruses in the locale.

The Associated Press also states that Vladimir Salnikov has joined the shots fired at Rio.

FINA’s criticisms attracted support from Vladimir Salnikov, the influential head of Russia’s swimming federation, who said “these problems have to be solved on time” and that earlier recommendations from FINA “obviously haven’t been listened to,” in comments Wednesday to Russian agency R-Sport.

USA Today Article

Swimming World has been pressing this issue since February of 2014 with a number of articles concerning the hazards.


  1. Brian Mullies

    Not too late for a venue change.

  2. Karin LaBerge

    Took them long enough! And I love how FINA lists those impacted: TV, media, athletes, spectators. You would think the priority should be athletes first, then spectators, media, TV.

    • avatar
      Brian Murphy

      No, FINA meant TV first: hence the late-night start for swimming finals.

  3. Marcia Cossatis

    Copacabana has no health hazard. We swim many open water events there, no one has had any problems. I read prejudice here…

    • Katie Crider

      Prejudice when there is SCIENTIFIC fact to back it up? This is NOT a matter of skin-color race, but a swimming race where our, your country’s, and everyone else has the same right to remain healthy upon competing at the site

    • Marcia Cossatis

      I say again, there is no evidence that Copacabana beach is unsafe for swimming. Manipulating information is not science. Open water is to be in Copacabana. We have open water races there every time. Go check your “facts”. I would not swim there if it wasn’t safe. I am not stupid.

    • Marcia Cossatis

      Oh… And prejudice is not only about color… So you know.

  4. avatar

    Copacabana has no health hazard. We swim many open water events there, no one has had any problems.
    Oh, this pic with the fish is NO WAY in Copacabana. Stop manipulating….

  5. Lance Robinson

    Someone just dropped the race card

    • Marcia Cossatis

      Dude, prejudice is not about color only. But why do I even care….

  6. Katie Crider

    Erin Condon Allison Retotar

  7. Niles Keeran

    Open sewers, open sewage, poor surface water quality, and unhealthy conditions for recreational activities, competition, and use is not the best for athletes, for the residents, and international visitors. If Rio de Janeiro can’t clean up their filthy environment by July 2016, then rowing, open water swimming, and get rid of the hillside shanty folks.

  8. Bernadette Chiavaro Jaeger

    Hopefully not too little-too late. Why not relocate all water events. Protect the athletes, IOC

  9. avatar

    Regardless of if people swim there regularly and don’t get ill legal liability will be judged on the out comes of independent water testing. If you let us here in London know by June I’m sure we could act as an alternative venue in time!