Every time it is the Olympic season, such as the 2016 Summer Olympics hosted at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or the recently-concluded 2018 Winter Olympics held at Pyeongchang, South Korea, hundreds of millions of people around the globe will tune in to watch athletes compete in numerous sports held in the most prestigious sporting event in the world.
But for some sports, water is nothing less than a necessity. In the summer, water is needed to fill pools and lakes for a range of boating and swimming events, and in the winter, water is also needed in the form of ice or snow for skating and skiing competitions.
And according to Stacey Pineau from LuminUltra, the importance of water can be seen could be seen at previous editions.
In the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the poor quality of the water there gave rise to concerns among the organisers and citizens alike who worried that the water there would make both competitors and fans sick, negatively impacting the results of the events and tarnishing the municipal’s image.
Moreover, later, two pools at the Aquatic Centre turned a murky green, leaving organisers scrambling to find out why. But before they found out that 80 litres of hydrogen peroxide had been deposited, the news broke all over the world, calling Rio de Janeiro’s ability to host the Olympics into question.
More recently in Pyeongchang, where cancelling or postponing ski events on snow-covered mountains was not a viable option, 250 snow cannons were kept closely on hand in the event that there was not enough snow. However, the man-made snow requires large amounts of water and its chemical makeup is completely different from that of natural snow, not only raising environmental concerns but also concerns among the athletes.
Now, although the 2020 Summer Olympics that Tokyo, Japan, is due to host are still two years away, challenges are already mounting. Recently, tests conducted at the venue where the sprint canoe and kayak events are due to held show that bacteria levels of E. coli are 20 times higher than those found in the Olympic guidelines. And although the Japanese organisers have time to confront and correct the issue, the cost of the event has ballooned from a US$9 billion to US$16 billion.