Water in the Diving Pool at the Rio Olympics Is -- Green?


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On day four of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, the water color in the pool for the 10-meter synchronized diving event was a putrid but vibrant green.

It happened again yesterday. The same green color was in the same pool during the three-meter springboard diving event.

It was first thought that the color was caused by algae, which poses no health threat and could have proliferated in the hot and windless indoor environment. 

But the International Swimming Federation, swimming's international governing body, said in a statement that the green color was not from an algae bloom. Instead it’s from a problem with the pool’s pH levels. The water turned green after the aquatic center ran out of chemicals to treat it and correct those levels. 

In any case, the green color wasn't a handicap for athletes because as diving is a visual sport. It helped divers see the water, press reports said. 

Still it’s ironic that the water quality in the diving pool has attracted the most attention and not in the fecally contaminated Guanabara Bay, where the sailing events are occurring, or the fecally contaminated the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where rowing, canoeing and kayaking competitions are staged. 

The first scheduling snafu of these Olympics took place yesterday when heavy winds, coupled with rain, whipped up the water on the lagoon, cancelling the first of the rowing finals, the women's and men’s quadruple sculls.

Before competitions in the bay and lagoon began, there were fears that fecal coliform bacteria caused by untreated sewage flowing into both bodies of water, especially the bay, could cause everything from skin rashes and conjunctivitis to gastroenteritis. 

But no athlete has been hospitalized so far for such illnesses.  Sailing competitions end Aug. 18.