Hope Solo speaks out over Zika virus concerns


leonard cederholm

photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Jess Barton, Staff Writer

Hope Solo, the goalkeeper for the United States’ women’s soccer team, told SI.com she would not attend the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as of right now because of the Zika virus outbreak. The Zika virus has mild symptoms including fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes; however, Zika in pregnant women has been linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly, in which newborns are born with smaller heads and developmental problems. Solo told SI.com she would “never take the risk of having an unhealthy child,” and believes that “competing in the Olympics should be a safe environment for every athlete, male and female alike. Female athletes should not be forced to make a decision that could sacrifice the health of a child.”  

Solo’s statements add to the discussion over whether or not it is safe for female athletes of childbearing age to compete in Brazil. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) reports that it has not suggested athletes to reconsider their decision to compete. A spokesperson for the USOC Patrick Sandusky stated, “Team USA looks forward to the Games and we did not, would not, and will not prevent athletes from competing for their country should they qualify.” Solo also threatened the possibility of boycotting the Olympics if the Zika outbreak is not under control.