Hope Solo calls the International Olympic Committee “irresponsible” for not moving soccer matches from a city in the Amazon but says she has decided to compete despite the risk of contracting the Zika virus.
“It was important for me to do my own due diligence and properly assess the risk,” the goalkeeper told Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Wahl. “Over the past few months, I’ve done a lot of research and spoken to a number of infectious disease specialists. Weighing all the available information, it’s clear there are still so many unknowns and risks involved with going to the Games, but I will compete in Rio and take the necessary precautions to protect myself as best I can.”
Golfer Vijay Singh recently cited Zika as a reason he declines to participate in Brazil this summer.
Solo already owns two Olympic gold medals. Turning 35 a week before the start of the summer games, Solo likely sees her last chance for Olympic glory in Rio. But as a married woman in her child-bearing years, Solo may also weigh the damage Zika can unleash in the womb on the unborn.
“I still feel it’s a position no athlete should be forced into and I’m disheartened that the IOC will not be moving the games from Manaus to at least help the risk,” Solo wrote. “Knowing what we know about Zika, it’s irresponsible.”