Solo: Zika outbreak could keep me from Olympics
The outbreak of the virus in Brazil is causing hesitation on behalf of U.S. women's soccer players.
“If I had to make the choice today, I wouldn’t go [to the Olympics],” U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo told SI.com on Monday from Texas, where the U.S. women’s national team opens its Olympic qualifying tournament on Wednesday against Costa Rica (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC Live Extra).
“I would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child,” said Solo, 34. “I don’t know when that day will come for Jerramy and me, but I personally reserve my right to have a healthy baby. No athlete competing in Rio should be faced with this dilemma. Female professional athletes already face many different considerations and have to make choices that male professional athletes don’t.
“We accept these particular choices as part of being a woman, but I do not accept being forced into making the decision between competing for my country and sacrificing the potential health of a child, or staying home and giving up my dreams and goals as an athlete. Competing in the Olympics should be a safe environment for every athlete, male and female alike. Female athletes should not be forced to make a decision that could sacrifice the health of a child.”
Another U.S. women’s soccer player said she was taking a wait-and-see approach on Zika virus and the Olympics.
“The Zika virus is definitely a concern to me,” the player said. “I’m obviously keeping an eye on what’s going on in the news. I do know that it’s spreading and they don’t really have a vaccination to treat it, so it’s definitely worrisome.”
“But at the end of the day I think there are a lot of things that come up pre-Olympics that are somewhat concerns, and this is kind of a bigger concern than it was with Beijing and smog and London with potential terrorist attacks. But the place we’re at right now with Olympic qualifying, we’re pretty much focused on that right now, and we’ll track it to see what’s happening. We may be playing in Manaus, which is probably loaded with mosquitoes. But I’m sure our doctors will inform us and keep us in the loop as to what’s going on.”