Skies and pools both darkened Wednesday as the sun-splashed Rio Games gave way to gray clouds and murky green waters.
The Rio de Janeiro Olympics were drenched in rain and continued questions Wednesday about why the diving well and water polo pools look so much like neglected aquariums.
The third day of the men’s tournament in water polo began in green-tinged water, though not nearly as dark as the neighbouring diving well at the aquatics centre. It was a crystal blue the day before.
Water quality has been a major issue surrounding the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but in the ocean and lagoons, not pools. Olympic organizers couldn’t explain the colour change although Rio organizers spokesman Mario Andrada blamed a “proliferation of algae” while insisting the athletes weren’t at risk.
They were on the waters and slippery roadways, though.
Strong winds rattled palm trees along the coast and whipped up waves on the scenic lagoon where rowing was postponed for a full day for the second time this week. With winds too blustery, rowers packed up their oars for the day as cyclists hit slick roads on skinny time-trial bikes unsuited to harsh weather conditions.
Under dark skies, the cyclists faced lashing rain and wind on the time-trial course along Rio’s southern coast. The conditions might have cost Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands a medal. She slid off the road and got tangled in weeds before finishing fourth.
American Kristin Armstrong won the race, conquering the brutal course to edge Russian Olga Zabelinskaya by 5.55 seconds.
Nate Ebner, the safety for the New England Patriots who took an absence from training camp to fulfill his Olympic dream, scored again in the rugby sevens tournament at sloshy Deodoro Stadium. But the U.S. team lost to Fiji 24-19, their second heartbreaking loss, sandwiched around a shutout of host Brazil.
Other highlights from Day 5
Rowing at risk
Twenty-two races, including the first two medal races, were postponed in the regatta but international rowing federation director Matt Smith said there’s still room on the schedule without having to resort to drastic measures even if competition is also called off. The regatta also lost Sunday’s slate to foul weather a day after two rowers fell into the choppy seas and rowers struggled to keep the filthy out of their boats.
Life’s a beach
The American beach volleyball team of Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson has been eliminated from the Olympics on a tiebreaker. It’s the first U.S men’s team to fail to advance out of pool play since the 2004 Games in Athens. The pair would have advanced if they had given up seven fewer points just one point per set over three matches at the Copacabana venue. The U.S. pair lost to Spain on Wednesday morning to fall to 1-2. When Qatar beat Austria later in the day, the Americans fell into a last-place tie in their pool.