13 American Rowers Fall Sick in Rio

At Olympics test event

While it’s impossible to pinpoint the source of the sickness for sure, the team’s doctor, Kathryn Ackerman, said that she suspected they contracted the bug on the water, despite the precautions in place. (Rodrigo Soldon / Flickr)

Thirteen of 40 U.S. junior rowers at a 2016 Olympics test event in Rio de Janeiro contracted a stomach bug this week, according to the AP. The rowing competition was held at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, one of the water venues where the AP found high levels of viruses last July.

Teams adopted strategies to avoid contamination due to concerns about pollution in the lake. “As soon as kids started going down, we were bleaching oar handles, we were immediately washing hands after coming off the water,” U.S. coach and two-time gold medalist Susan Francia told the AP. “Other countries didn’t allow water bottles at all. Other countries had water bottles in zip-locked bags.”

While it’s impossible to pinpoint the source of the sickness with certainty, the team’s doctor, Kathryn Ackerman, said she suspected the rowers contracted the bug on the water, despite the precautions in place. 

“We’re not really sure,” she told the AP. “My personal feeling is I think it’s from the lake.”

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