Well, this doesn't sound great. If you've been watching the Olympics, you've probably noticed the rather conspicuous change that's taken place in the diving pool over the last few days ― you know, how it suddenly turned murky and green. Olympic officials had previously insisted that the water was safe to dive in. But on Friday, Aug. 12, there was a green diving pool update that wasn't very encouraging, leaving plenty of observers (and the Olympians themselves, of course) to wonder whether the water had truly been safe to swim in.
The Rio Olympics official Twitter quickly addressed the issue, noting that the pool has to be still in order for it to return to its original blue color, which is a little confusing. Regardless, they closed the pool down, according to CBS News, amid complaints from divers of "itchy eyes." According to the organizers, the reaction was the result of too many chemicals being used to treat the green water. Although, as at least one Olympian noted, there was something else pretty notable about the state of the Aquatic Center ― the smell. Specifically, Tom Steinfort wrote on Twitter that a German diver summed up the aroma like this: "The whole building smells like a fart."
One of the first people to publicly comment on the diving pool closure was British diver Tom Daley, who expressed the very same thing that anyone who dove into the murky green water is probably thinking right now.
Initially, the green water was blamed on a buildup of algae, although that explanation has since changed somewhat. Most recently, as the Los Angeles Times noted, the international swimming organization FINA blamed the discoloration on a shortage of treatment chemicals in Rio, which threw off the pH balance of the water. Needless to say, "there's not enough pool chemicals" is a very strange thing to hear in the context of, you know, the Olympics.
So, to recap: The pool turned green because they ran out of chemicals to treat the water and/or there was an algae buildup, and now it's been shut down because it's irritating some divers' eyes and the whole place smells like a stale fart. Cue up the Olympic anthem!
Let's just say this particular chapter in Olympic history hasn't exactly lived up to its grandiose reputation. Hopefully, the athletes themselves can get some clarity and some generous rounds of apologies, at the very least. Even though Daley seemed to take the news humorously, athletes shouldn't have to spare any thoughts about the safety and healthfulness of their venues, much less during likely the biggest international event they'll ever participate in.