Responding to a news report on Monday, U.S. Olympic officials say it is “100% inaccurate” that they suggested American athletes might consider skipping the 2016 Summer Olympics because of fears about the Zika virus.
The report stemmed from a teleconference involving the U.S. Olympic Committee and various sports federations. Because the virus is prevalent in Brazil, where the Games will be held, the USOC said it briefed the federations on Zika recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Team USA looks forward to the Games and we did not, would not and will not prevent athletes from competing for their country should the qualify,” spokesman Patrick Sandusky said.
The USOC said discussions during the teleconference focused on the potential risk for employees visiting Rio de Janeiro. The committee also forwarded to the federations an International Olympic Committee letter on travel to Zika-infected areas.
“We are closely monitoring the situation through the CDC and have ongoing contact with the International Olympic Committee, the organizing officials in Rio, the World Health Organization and infectious disease specialists with expertise in tropical diseases, including the Zika virus,” Sandusky said.
The Games are scheduled to begin in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 5.