Add two more to the growing list of athletes saying health > competition
The countdown to the Rio Olympics is on: Opening ceremonies are less than three weeks away. But as we get closer to that date, more and more athletes are saying, "pass." Their concern? Zika. On Friday, two of the world's best tennis players said they're not thrilled with the idea they could contract Zika and won't be heading to Brazil as a result. (More: 7 Things You Should Know About the Zika Virus)
Romania's Simona Halep, who is currently ranked No. 5 in the world, took to Facebook to drop the bomb. "After several talks with doctors and my family, I concluded that the risks are too high for my career and for my health, especially as a woman," she wrote. "Family is much too important for me and I can't risk not being able to have one of my own after my career in tennis is over."
Canadian tennis player Milos Raon in a statement that he doesn't intend for his withdrawal to impact any other athletes from competing. But the two tennis pros are just the newest members of a group of athletes, including golfers Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, putting their health over their desire to compete. Not everyone shares the fear. Gymnast Gabby Douglas, for one, said mosquitoes won't keep her from the Games. "This is my shot, this is big," she told USA Today last month. "I don't care about no stupid bugs!"
It's not just athletes and fans making the trek to South America who are at risk. More than 200 pregnant women in the U.S. have been confirmed to have Zika, and just last week, the CDC announced it can spread sexually from female-to-male, rather than just male-to-male or male-to-female as previously thought. To minimize your risk, use condoms every time you have sex (which, BTW, is always a good idea).