From green pool to missing pontoon, Rio's problems persist

Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:05pm EDT
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By Daniel Flynn and Brenda Goh

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Olympics organizers battled an array of persistent problems as the Games entered its second week on Saturday, from a lurid green diving pool to competitors taken to the wrong venue, and a long-distance swimming pontoon swept away by the waves.

The refusal of the Olympic diving pool to return to a more appealing blue hue has baffled technicians and competitors alike after it was pumped full of chemicals since turning a cloudy green color on Tuesday.

The color and acrid smell of the pool have prompted jokes on the Internet and complaints from competitors and have become a symbol of the organizational problems dogging South America's first Games, which come as Brazil struggles with deep recession and political upheaval.

On Saturday, Olympics organizers finally concluded the strange color was due to a mix-up over pool chemicals. A contractor dumped 80 liters of hydrogen peroxide into the water on the opening day of the Games, without informing them.

The chemical, which is used to keep pools clean, neutralized the chlorine that organizers were using to keep the pool blue, allowing algae to flourish, they said.

Organizers said on Saturday they would spend 10 hours draining and replacing the water in the waterpolo pool, which has gone from green to a cloudy blue. The same pool is needed on Sunday for the start of synchronized swimming where competitors need to see each other under water.

"Of course, it's an embarrassment," said Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada, who originally said the problem would be fixed on Wednesday. "This was probably the only issue that we were unable to solve quickly," he told reporters.

The organizers will not drain the diving pool and instead continue with chemical treatment, as the discoloration did not seem to concern competitors in that sport as much. The diving competition will run throughout the second week of the Games.   Continued...

A general view of the Olympic diving pool and the pool for the waterpolo and synchronized swimming. The water in the Olympic diving pool appeared to turn a bright green hue on Tuesday, causing puzzlement among divers and audiences as the women's 10 meter platform final progressed, contrasting sharply against the still-blue color of another pool beside it.
REUTERS/Antonio Bronic