As the women’s synchronized diving teams took to the pool in Rio de Janeiro today, they were greeted by a strange sight. The diving pool had turned green overnight, while the neighboring water polo pool remained a crystal clear blue. This confused the Olympic organizers, media, and the internet profusely. Long story short: it’s most likely an algae bloom.
Some of the more far-fetched and disgusting reasons as to why the Olympic pool changed to a puke-green hue include Brazil’s national pride, a possible Ghostbusters advertising tie-in, and yes, urine. But there’s likely a much more scientifically sound answer. As chemist Raychelle Burks said on Twitter, “Algae or oxidized copper is typically the thing—No alien goo or ectoplasmas.”
Olympic divers report that the water is so cloudy, they can’t see their diving partners. This side-by-side view from Deadspin supports the claim that the pool’s water is pretty damn murky. According to a handbook on pool chemistry (yes, that actually exists), oxidized copper usually leaves behind a pool with clear green water, rather than cloudy water. Cloudy water usually indicates that an algae bloom is to blame.
Algae blooms can be sparked by changes in a pool’s chlorine level, and a common way to avoid this is to use chlorine shock overnight to kill any algae in the pool. If that’s the case, someone is going to get fired. The International Olympic Committee will reportedly releasing an official statement on the green pool this afternoon, although officials are apparently stumped at the moment.
“Water tests at Maria Lenk’s Aquatic Park were conducted and there was found to be no risk to the athletes’ health,” an official reportedly said on Thursday afternoon. “We’re investigating what the cause of the situation was, but we are happy to report that the competition was successfully completed.”
We’ll update this post with the official explanation when we find out what it is. In the meantime—green water or not—Olympic athletes are still diving into the pool, so they must not be too worried about the safety. It’s still a very bad look for the Rio Olympics, which has already seen a torrent and anxiety over sewage in its natural bodies of water. Now it looks like even the pools aren’t 100 percent clean, either.
[Update – 10:00pm ET] The IOC remains tight-lipped to the official cause of the pool’s discoloration, but a Canadian diving coach is blaming algae as the sole perpetrator, according to AP. Strangely enough, some divers actually see the icky hue as a plus .
via Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com
August 9, 2016 at 07:18AM