The 2016 Olympics have been marred with controversy, including rampant sexism during media coverage of the event. However, one of the most bizarre incidents happened on August 9 when the blue waters of the diving pool at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center inexplicably turned green.
Deadspin published a photo of how the pool looked before it turned green on August 8then after the pool turned green on August 9. The comparison photo highlights both the abruptness and the grossness of the issue.
It was ultimately determined that the pool turned green due to an algae problem. Algae, in and of itself, does not pose a hazard, however, the conditions that allow algae to grow are cause for concern. The presence of algae indicated inadequate chlorine levels, and to make matters worse, antibiotics-resistant bacteria was found at the swimming and rowing event locations.
Olympic officials stated that the green water was not a health hazard and training sessions and competitions were allowed to continue despite the state of the water.
“There is absolutely no risk to anybody. The independent group (charged with checking the water quality) confirmed the measures to bring the pool back to its normal colour. The rain affected a bit the changes in the state of the water. It should go back to classic blue color during the day,” said Mario Andrada, a spokesman for the Rio Games.
While algae growth turned the water green, the conditions in which algae could grow were created by a pool maintenance worker's mistake. One-hundred-sixty liters of hydrogen peroxide were mistakenly added to the waters on August 5.
The hydrogen peroxide neutralized the chlorine in the pool, as hydrogen peroxide is a de-chlorinating agent. The point of chlorinating the pool is to kill germs and keep water clear, so adding hydrogen peroxide would create an environment where germs could grow and the water could turn green, as we saw.
"Of course it's an embarrassment. We are hosting the Olympic Games, and athletes are here, so water is going to be an issue. We should have been better in fixing it quickly. We learned painful lessons the hard way," said Andrada.