I’m sure many of you are caught up in the hype of the Summer Olympics. Who doesn’t like spending 16 days watching athletes compete and cheer on our countries? I’m a fan, but not a super fan. Unless of course I’m around during the Equestrian events - then I’m glued to the TV! As my husband can attest, if I am watching the Show Jumping events I am counting strides and leaning forward at the same time the rider is!
This year’s Olympics has been particularly interesting, as I cannot think of any other that has been as marred with concerns over potential infectious diseases. From Zika virus concerns which lead to a number of golfers backing out over concerns for their health, the health of their spouses and future children to the coverage over concerns that have also been whirling for months for sailors and rowers over the contaminated water and what bugs lurk in there.
Whenever a group this large congregates, there is bound to be a bug or two that spreads through the athletes. But have the concerns over contaminated water and other hygiene conditions come true? Well, in my quick google search I certainly found numerous news channels prophesying that athletes risk getting sick, but I’ve only found 1 article published that talks to a Belgian sailor falling sick after racing. While some illnesses may being kept low key so as not to ruin the chances of team sports etc., I would think with all of the hoopla leading up to the Olympics if people were getting sick we’d hear about it. I mean we have heard about the pools turning green!
What about the horses? Like humans they’re prone to getting sick and the riders at the Olympics and their horses are some of the most highly traveled athletes around! According to several news sources, Dutch Olympic dressage rider Adelinde Cornelissen entered the arena on her horse Parzival, guided him through a few movements, and then rode off the field and out of the competition. Parzival had been bitten on the face by a poisonous insect and developed a fever. Cornelissen sensed something was wrong with her faithful mount and rather than risk his health, she gave up on her Olympic moment knowing it would also impact her entire team. High fives to Cornelissen!
Now, I’m not jumping on the media hype band wagon. Instead I am wondering if all the hype and concern about hygienic conditions has in fact increased the focus on preventative measures such as frequent hand washing. Could it be that because there was a perceived risk due to the media hype the athletes and their trainers have stepped up their infection prevention measures? I know I’m more vigilant when travelling, particularly to areas where hygiene is not the same as I am accustomed to!
As for watching the Olympics, now that I’m done my blog I can go check out what happened today. You can bet I will keep an eye out to see what transpires in terms of people and horses getting sick!