Today we are one week away from departure for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.  Competition starts in eighteen days; and in twenty-two days I will have completed the final race of my career.  Rio will be my third Olympic Team after walking on to my college rowing team in 2002 with no knowledge or background in the sport.  Rio will be my first trip to South America. My family and friends are planning on being there to support me for my last-ever attempt to make the podium while representing the United States in rowing competition.  I will be traveling to Rio as part of one of the most talented and decorated women’s rowing squads in history.  I am incredibly excited for this trip, and this opportunity.  I have worked for ten years to get to this point and will continue to work as hard as I can over the next few weeks to make the most of this very special and unique opportunity.

But all you want to do is talk about shit in the water.

My request to everyone who is fixated on shit in the water:  stop.  Stop trying to ruin the Olympics for us.

I can’t be sure when the first headlines about the water quality in Rio appeared and the conversation really started.  But ever since then, it seems like it’s all people want to talk about.  And I can’t really understand why.  At this point, it is known that there are issues with the water quality.  It is known that athletes are going to be at risk for illness. It is known that we are going to have to be smart, hygienic and take precautions.  Great.  Let’s move on.

What purpose does it serve to dwell on this?  What benefit can we possibly gain from drilling athletes on their position on the water quality in Rio?  None.  Or nothing good, anyway.  What it seems like to me, is that the media is yet-again working really hard to smear the host city, the IOC, and the Olympics as an institution as part of the hype leading in to the Games.  In Beijing, people were hyper-focused on air quality. In London, the criticism fell on budget and timeline issues.  This year, it’s more of the same and people seem more motivated than ever to portray the impending Rio Games as the biggest-ever disaster that hasn’t happened yet.  Why?  Why do we insist on indulging this negativity when there is so much potential for a culture of optimism and positivity in and around the Games?  As a culture we have a really simple choice when it comes to how we want to frame the conversation around Rio 2016, and at every turn it seems we are choosing to be jerks.

At a very basic level, the tactics selected by many of the major western media outlets covering the Games are just flat out embarrassing.  Everywhere I look, I read negative stories and op eds –and the resulting comment threads…yikes– that express outrage and disgust, disappointment and disapproval of the conditions that short-term visitors like athletes and spectators will be forced to endure for all of two weeks this summer while they participate in the Olympics.  They do not mention the countless Brazilian citizens who live their whole lives in Rio and don’t complain; they offer no solutions for their readership to pitch in and help to make things better for the visiting delegations they so pity (let alone long term solutions for the population of Brazil!); all from the comfort of their figurative armchairs, the majority of these great thinkers and contributors having never been a part of the Olympic Movement, or themselves been to Rio.  As a culture, could we possibly be more entitled, ignorant, and embarrassingly egocentric?
There are thousands of people who have worked tirelessly for years to put together an event that is unique to anything else in the world.  The people of Brazil have opened their country and their hearts to the global community to engage with us during this incredible event that will bring people together from every corner of the earth to celebrate humanity on a truly basic level.  And the best we can do, our media can do, is insult them and try to make them feel ashamed of who they are and the work they have done to bring us all together.
This is incredibly frustrating to me.  It’s frustrating because I feel only gratitude and appreciation for the nation of Brazil and the city of Rio de Janeiro for taking on this now thankless task of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.  I want other people to share this feeling of humility and privilege that I feel being a part of the US Olympic Team.  I want people to understand that no one and nothing is perfect; not in sport, not in life; and that Brazil is doing the best they can to make sure everyone has a fantastic time when they come to Rio.  I feel these things and know them to be true because I have seen the way a host nation comes alive, and the deep and moving sense of national pride that host staff, volunteers and organizers feel and express when the Games begin.  When you are there, and you are a part of it, you cannot help but be changed by the palpable sense of unity and commitment to excellence that exists inside the Olympic bubble.  If you can’t recognize that, or -worse- if you do recognize that and still only want to drive messages of national shame on the host nation and/or the hypothetical superiority of your home nation, you just need to stop.  Just stop.  Because at a certain point, you are just embarrassing.  Suggesting that someone is doing a bad job while also implying that you would do a better job but also refusing to offer to do the job, or even to help, is a pretty crappy stance, and sounds a lot like someone who probably doesn’t have any friends.

Speaking of having no friends:  where are all the people who going to be supporting us this summer?  I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find any Rio coverage that doesn’t have some troll component — even stories that are meant to be positive — the messages of negativity portrayed by the mainstream media have become so pervasive that everyone (i.e. those leaving comments) now feels invited to remind us all the time that Rio is going to host a terrible Olympics and we’re all going to have a bad time.  And when the trolls inevitably appear, there is almost never anyone who is willing to take them down and bring the conversation back to center:  which is, despite any obstacles, American athletes are going to do everything they can to have their best possible performance in Rio.  Period.  And the more support we have from our countrywomen/-men, even in less-than-ideal circumstances, the better.  I know the positive voices are out there.  But that they are silent is really sad.

Think of it this way: every time you sensationalize the poor water quality, or try to get athletes to react to Zika, or chastise the Brazilian people for allowing their government to collapse, you’re not just insulting the Brazilian people. You’re also insulting us, your American athletes.  Every time someone asks an athlete who is not a sociologist, epidemiologist, ecologist, microbiologist, or entomologist their position on water quality or some other crappy negative topic, they’re telling us: “I care more about your non-expert opinion on these issues than I do on your performance in Rio.”  But –But–  No.  There is no but.  You’re not being helpful, and it’s not coming from a good place.  Olympic athletes are experts on one thing, and one thing only: our performance.  And you damn well know it.  Every time you ask us to shift our focus from our specialty during the one time in a four-year cycle that we get the opportunity to share our expertise with the world, it’s an unnecessary distraction that we as competitors do not need and should not have to deal with from people who are supposed to be on our side.  Every time you steer the conversation away from the athletes and competition and on to things that are outside of our control, you’re suggesting to us: “I think you should probably waste some of your energy worrying about this, don’t you?”  That’s not helping anyone to be faster or perform better in Rio, so why would you do it?  It seems a little mean-spirited and like you don’t care if we do well.  Or that you somehow think that we should not enjoy our trip to the Olympics.

And that hurts.  Because we are doing this for you, after all.  We are American, and we are going to Rio to represent you in this potentially flawed and imperfect setting that you are trying so desperately to get the public to love to hate.  We are going to compete for medals to bring them home to you, and for you so that the US has a good shot at winning the medal tally again in Rio.  We go to Rio and face incredible odds, some of us, for you so that you will be proud of us, and proud of supporting Team USA. We are supposed to be a Team–all of us–and those of you covering our stories, and those of you resting comfortably in your intellectual armchairs are supposed to have our backs. All of us owe something to our nation for getting us this far, or for believing in us, and competing under our shared colors is our way of expressing our gratitude to you.  So tell me again why you want to talk about poop?

If you are that insecure about where we stand, America, let me be the one to say it.  I’ll say it, if it will allay your fears and put some of these issues to rest:

I will row through shit for you, America.

And I will do it gladly, and proudly, because rowing on this Team in Rio is not something I’m afraid of, or going to complain about.  I will do it, and I will defend fiercely the dignity of the people who are doing their best to make everyone happy while we are all guests in their beautiful country.  I will do it, and I will try to discourage you from taking away even the tiniest bit of magic or excitement from a single one of my teammates who have earned this trip with their blood and sweat, and all of whom deserve to have a really positive experience in Rio.

AND LEST WE FORGET: we had our chance to host the Olympics in 2016.  Where were all of you critical crusaders then?  Chicago needed you!


We wimped out on the Chicago bid and have whined about it ever since, but don’t worry:  we will have our chance again in 2024 with the bid in Los Angeles.  If you are so desperately concerned for your athletes, and your Team that you need to write snide, lazy things on the internet about Rio or Brazil to make yourself feel better; or if you feel angry or betrayed or frustrated by what’s about to happen in Rio because you genuinely believe the US would do a better job and be the perfect Olympic host, I suggest you channel some of that energy, or at the very least some funds, into the L.A. 2024 bid.

Great!  Now that we have that cleared up, get behind us and and cheer your faces off.  Put your rally caps on.  Let’s pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.  Let’s go for the gold together.  Pick your best cliche that will get you fired up to watch American athletes put their hearts and souls in to their performances in Rio in a few weeks, and when the urge strikes to comment on the poop, just go right ahead and keep it to yourself.

Long Live the Dream,



238 thoughts on “Stop Trying to Ruin the Olympics For Us

  1. Oh God this essay is perfect after the Rio Olympics last year. Sharing this with my athlete friends. Also here are a few more Olympic essays you may want to check out: Olympics Essay

  2. Beautiful blog and message, after all, that’s what all of the athletes train all year long for!

  3. Great read! i enjoy the perspective that the media can take the competitiveness and the fun out of competing at the highest level. The risks as you said were indeed known from the start and this sort of thing definitely has arrived especially in Australia with some sports.

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  5. Mrs. Megan Kalmoe,
    You made me cry! Thanks a lot for your words. Brazil is a poor country an Rio has a lot of problems but we did our best to leave the city as a nice place for you and all visitors. These Olympics gave me a great opportunity to make some income, make friends and show the world the good things we have here.
    I am a local from Leme Beach, beside Copacabana, and was raised surfing, swimming, cycling, hiking and getting crazy with the best parties ever! Here we are, the people from Rio, always happy to say welcome for the US visitors. The US athletes did a great job, the ones I have had the chance to be with were so open and friendly with the fans! It’s time to celebrate all was fine. Some problems happened as expected in a “super big party” like this but at the end we are so proud about us (me, you and all visitors that came here).
    Congratulations to you and your nice county as an exemple of how take serious on sports!!!
    Marcos Rosauro
    President of the Brazilian Navy League

  6. You rock MK! Amen sister!! Just got back from supporting Team USA for a week. So proud of all of you. On and off the field. Great experience. No mosquitos!! Felt safe. Brazilians were extremely gracious hosts!! Thank you!

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  8. Love it and your neutral point of view on this. Enjoy watching the olympics!

  9. This is great, Megan, as are the Olympic rowers and the rest of our athletes. We in the Atlanta area proudly remember our days as Olympic hosts, despite imperfections. Row hard and fast.

  10. Great article!!!! Thanks for sharing. Ignorance is bliss they say…. The world we live in today with news and social media. Most people are lame sorry to say.
    @Nikola. Hey what is it that you do????? Megan inspires!!!!!
    You just hide behind your keyboard, you’re a total twat!!!!!!

    Good luck on games Megan, you’re allready a winner!!!!

  11. Row, row row your boat, gently down the shit stream…

    Lol Megan, get over yourself. You do nothing productive for society but row a boat. You add nothing to culture, you do nothing but row for years in preparation for …a couple minutes of rowing.

    What is the point of this website? To beg for money to keep you doing your useless rowing?

    Keep on rowing through shit!

  12. Thank you for speaking out so eloquently about where the main focus really should be at the 2016 Summer Olympics Games in Rio…yessss…. in total support of our athletes! These unnecessary distractions must cease. You are a wonderful example of the talented athletes representing the USA in such an incredibly noble way. I truly appreciate you for all of the hard work, and dedication you have given to the sport of rowing. Too bad women’s rowing is not one of main attractions, and doesn’t have the sponsorship it needs. I’m praying for the USA women’s rowing team, and for all of our sports teams. I am proud to be an American, and like you, I thank the host nation of Brazil, and the people of Rio de Janeiro for opening up their beautiful countryside and facilities in order to serve our athletes, and tourists. So, put your best oars forward, and proudly go- fight- & – win the gold for Team USA!

  13. Forget about the shitty water in Rio. Sadly, the IOC is a corrupt and shitty organization. Sadly, the modern olympic games cost too much in human and material capital to be justified. Good luck in Rio.

  14. I would venture to say the reason the focus is on the disease-laden waters is because the anticipation that you might splash some flesh eating organic material down your throat, and die some horrific, drawn out, torturous, widely publicized death in the weeks or months to follow, is FAR more interesting than anything that might normally happen regarding this institution.

  15. I wish there were more people like you. You said it ALL. CONGRATS 👍👍🔝🔝🔝🔝

  16. You’ll be amazing! I know some of y’all must feel like you’re being sabotaged. A little support would be nice. Just know that most of us are rooting for the home team! Go USA!

  17. Way to go, girl! Hope you win the gold! And don’t worry. I don’t believe that the waters in Rio are that polluted. If things are that bad, Brazil has tons of other waters to house the olympics. Good luck :-)

  18. No. The shit water is just the tip of the iceberg and it should be the first in any conversation.

    $1b USD was spent to clean that water. FOR YOU. And it was all stolen. If developed countries know the business of the Olympics is a scam and developing nations get swindled and burdened with generations of debt, this has to end.

    Embarrassing the Olympics and organizations FIFA with a PR backlash like the shit water is just the first step in fixing this. Making the Olympics about sport again, not about a corrupt national development agenda where corporations can launder billions in development funds.

    As a rower myself, I’m embarrassed the US team will be competing in these conditions. It’s disrespectful to the sport, the spirit of the competition and the people of Brazil who continue to suffer in this squalor. You should be embarrassed too.

  19. Congrats on your success in rowing as you have done something many of us will never do by raising to the top of a sport. I understand this is a moment in your life you have worked so hard as to suffer for so many years.

    Please understand that the media is interested in the “car crashes” in life more than anything else because it “SELLS”. So your blog seems so naive in its droning structure its like you are still some small child that has no understanding of anything outside of personal want.

    The health of the world is bigger than me, you or the Olympics. Brazil is a wreck of a place with all the problems of deforestation, poverty, pollution and corruption. Don’t be such a tool as to whine about the media spoiling your party, because you will party and enjoy yourself.
    You are self centered in your wants to succeed and have you will have a great party. That’s what is most important to you and its ok that the health of Brazil and its people are not important.

    I hope that you, as a fellow citizen of the world will grow in your thoughts and vision of making this spinning sphere a better place. You will have that ability to do so. I hope you take it.

    I do really wish you success in your Olympics and beyond.

  20. Nice try but you missed one crucial point. Put your money where your mouth is and sign a waiver…you will not call on US authorities to come and save you and you will not burden the US healthcare system with whatever disease you contract. Have fun rowing in shit!

  21. You sound extremely self-centered and ignorant. You’ll be in Rio for a few weeks and then come back to the best country in the world. To criticize the “mainstream media” in the way you do makes you sound like Sarah Palin. You do not embody the ideals that American athletes should be exemplifying.

  22. I think you should get over yourself. You row a boat. It is not patriotic, nor amazing, and it doesn’t deserve any praise what so ever. You’re one step above a kid playing with rubber duckies in the bathtub.

    You play ROW BOAT. And now you’ll be rowing in shit. For what? Glory? God? Country? LOL.

  23. Very correct article,I will love to be a guest writer for you;

  24. Reblogged this on Not a migrant and commented:
    Through this brilliant case study one can put a spotlight on negative journalism on any country that US has a political issue with. It clouds a judgment, distorts perspective and goes again international cooperation. This is how they have been covering Russia and South American countries for years!

  25. After the Olympics PLEASE RUN FOR PRESIDENT.
    You know what Americans need to hear, and you say it so well. Great article…I’ll wade through shit to cheer you on. Good luck!

  26. Thank you Megan. We have big issues here and our politicians are mostly to feel ashamed but not our country. We have lots of wonderful things to be proud of as well. Good luck and hope you have a great time in Rio! Enjoy the games! ❤️🇧🇷🇺🇸

  27. I’m really impressed by your love and excitements in the Rio 2016 Olympics despite the negativity from the American media. I’m supporting you and the entire Team USA to put on your best effort in all your sports. Just go for the gold and don’t fear nothing you’ll be just fine.

  28. As a Brazilian I thank you for thinking differently from the vast majority, who insist on humiliating our Country.

    The world is not perfect. We are not perfect. And we do not need such massive attack from global media.

    As you say: god bless Brazil !! We need it !!

    Thank you again and Good luck !!! We brazilians will cheer for you !!

  29. Excellent text! As an American citizen born in Brazil,
    I share your thoughts from both perspectives. The Games are about the athletes and their years of hard work. And while people in Brazil are righteously protesting against political corruption and serious social problems, and the country was probably not the best choice for infrastructural reasons, now the fact is that it was chosen to host. And most Brazilians recognize the athletes should be celebrated. They are indeed passionate about sports and I think the Olympic spirit will prevail to value what the event is about – sports and a rare time when the world gets together for a good peaceful purpose. Call me a dreamer, but I still believe. And definitely best of luck, Go Team USA!!!

  30. Absolutely agree! We have lots of friends from Brazil and what you are saying is true. Sometimes we Americans are spoiled entitled and pouty when things are less than perfect. Go girl! Go USA!

  31. And still someone commented ‘there is poop in Rio water!’
    Are they still in elementary school? Who doesnt know where sewage goes! In every corner of the world its where poop ends up! Only that its a system. Anyway I will be cheering on for u surely right next door. Guyana.

  32. First let me wish you and your team an amazing performance in the forthcoming Rio Olympics. And second let me congratulate you for having an unbiased mature and logical outlook towards society. That is something pretty hard to see in people these days. With people like you in the forefront and you being vocal about your thoughts will definitely help a lot of young people to get perspe ctive and simultaneously inspire them to achieve their dreams.

  33. So happy this came up on my feed, fellow rower as well in Princeton, NJ. We’re all rooting for you guys! Go USA🚣🏻

  34. Megan, thank you so, so much for this incredible blog post. I work at the Rio 2016 organisation and I can attest that it is not only the international media that seems intent on putting us down at every level. Brazilian media and the general public also seem to be “rooting” for our failure, as part of our very twisted sense of worth as a nation. There are so many bad things going on in Rio, but the Games are not one of them. Turning the event into the culprit for every corruption scandal or even the water quality issue is naïve at best and malicious at worst. If anything, the Games were an opportunity for much needed urban improvements to take place – just look at Rio’s urban transport network now and compare it to five years ago and you’ll see the difference. We are still lacking basic things, but blaming the Games and trying to make us feel ashamed for even thinking we could actually host a great event is not helping Rio or cariocas at all.

    1. Sorry miss I am going to have to disagree with you on this.Shinning a light on problems is not putting people down. How do things change when no one can talk about the problem? I was told by a black man that talking about the issues of the black community is airing dirty laundry.I always have to ask if these people really want things to change.They seem to have a funny idea that not talking about problems some how mean not one realizes they are there.

  35. I’m really sorry that people want to educate Olympic athletes about the risk of disease and hygiene in Rio. Next time I promise we’ll let just you have a good time and come home with the Zika virus👍

  36. I´m Brazilian and I live here in Brazil. I can tell you few things about Olympic games here. WE, as a nation, don´t want to host the Olympic Games and why I say this…We are a country without doctor and medicine at the hospitals because the Govermment says the is no money, people is dying without food because there is no jobs, our streets are full of holes, we have watter problems, we have people really sick and kids with health problemas due to Zika virus. I can´t see anything good comming to our people after Olympic Games. The only thing I can see is that we´ll have to pay a bill that´s not our and use OUR money an event that will bring no benefits to us.

    1. I feel for you, Silgene. And I agree. These games have become more important that the weightier things of life, and that is very sad.

  37. Dont worry, you guys wont get sick from the water. I’ve been swimming for almost 20 years and nothing happened…

  38. Megan, you brought up a lot of points I hadn’t considered. Thank you.

    I do find one thing very disturbing about your article, as well as a few of the responses to it. And that is the dismissive way you address the threat of the Zika virus. And the humor, not to mention criticism toward those who choose to stay away from infected areas, with which some of your readers address this issue is shameful.

    I am in full agreement with you that the manner in which the press and millions of other critics are handling the issues of sanitation and other local issues is appalling. After all, you and every other visitor to Rio/Brazil (or anywhere else, for that matter) should have the right to decide for yourself to which elements you are willing to expose yourself.

    The Zika virus is quite another story.

    To be honest, I admire athletes, tourists, business people, etc. who are choosing not to visit places where the Zika virus is a real threat. Because, whether they are doing it for themselves, their families, their unborn children, or their neighbors, they are in essence hindering the spread of a disease that could potentially cripple a society if not contained.

    To say that ‘we’ as Americans should see that ‘you’ as Olympians are doing this for us, and that we should stop trying to bring up things like the Zika virus, is a very selfish statement. And in reality, this only negates your claim and makes you sound like you are most definitely NOT doing this for us. I, even as an individual, have a right to be concerned about the spread of the Zika virus, that will most certainly result from the multitudes traveling to and from the Olympics this season. And so does everyone else in the world. It is a very selfish thing to tell us that we don’t.

    So, please don’t say that you as Olympians are doing this for us. On some level, that may be true. I clearly see National Pride in each Olympic team. But the essence of the competition is that Americans compete against Americans, as well as other nations. Because at the heart of it all, it is an individual/team competition that strives for the Gold. Because we’re not all Olympians, doesn’t mean that we don’t see and understand the reality.

    We are not all trying to ‘Ruin the Olympics for You’. We are trying to save ourselves and our children from exposure to what you and others may be unwittingly bringing back home to us. And in light of the weightier matters of life and health, the Olympic Games are not all that important.

  39. Yes. The ratio of shitty water articles to shitty society articles is a bit tilted. There is very little peace and justice actually being explored.

    The press just wants a picture of a giant turd with oars.

    Kudos to “Nugget” for calling it out. A bit ironic, eh?

  40. Boom! Drop the mic! This is one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time, and I feel for you. You are dead on with your assessment of spoiled, whiny Americans with their armchair coaching. As our moms tried to teach us, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. We should all try to remember that lesson, everyday, maybe we’d all get along better? Or better yet, get behind our teams and cheer them on and support them, without criticism or negativity.
    I will be doing just that. Rock on, Megan! Go for Gold!!

  41. Okay madam I can respect all the hard work you have put in for the Olympics. I can also respect what the Olympics is trying to accomplish. The thing is however that the Olympics is just a sports competition at the end of the day. You have to understand that every one does not share your passion for it.

    While I am no fan of the media in this case I am glad they putting a spot light on social or health issues. These nation can spend large sums of money to host this competition,but this competition is going to be gone soon.Those people and their problems will still be there.It is disturbing how governments don’t do enough for the welfare of their people,but can mobilize to get ready for the Olympics.In my opinion the Olympics should not choose places that have serious health or social issues until they get their act together. I respect your opinion,but it seems a bit short sighted.

  42. Guess what. It’s cool that you’re hyped up for this event. But some people aren’t patriotic enough to care about your dream and commitment, and are plain old grossed out about random bodies and trash floating where you guys intend on performing.
    It’s fine for there to be disgust. There should be. The host city should be cringing. Athletes should be boycotting. There should be stricter standards for the process of choosing a location.
    But it’s no skin off my back. I’ll laugh when the Ganges river is your next spot.
    This rant comes off as kinda mean, but… It’s common sense. Lol

  43. Really nice read. It’s great to see optimism in a day where many people choose the negative as it’s the easiest and simplest thought track as our brains are naturally wired that way! It takes truly determinated and basically amazing people to only see the positives and you are one of those folk! – good luck at Rio a shall be watching.

  44. Liked the article. And good luck bring home the gold and I’ll be watch you.

  45. Since childhood I have loved everything about the Olympics. I weep at the opening ceremonies, each time I hear our national anthem, and am immediately saddened when the games end. I am certain Rio’s games will affect me in all the same ways. Good luck to you and Team USA! Your exceptional effort and talents are admired and appreciated by many more than those spreading the negativity.

  46. I hope you win, I really do. And I hope lots of medals are won by our country. Because yes I’d like to be proud of us. But please don’t bullshit us by saying you are going to Brazil to win medals for us. Neither you nor any other American is going to Brazil to win medals for America. Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve no doubt that a part of you and/or them wants to do this for “us.” But you did not enter competitive athletics to win medals for your country. You entered because you wanted to win and to be the best. That’s awesome. But be honest… this is mostly about you winning for you. I’m not trying to bring you or anyone else down. Just don’t add in the bullshit.

  47. Megan, you are very welcome in our country and our city. I really enjoyed reading your point of view. Yes, we have problems – a lot of them, actualy. Poverty, violence, bad administration, corruption. Most of our citizens are working and struggling to make things better. Although, for each bad point there are many good ones. Rich culture, amazing nature, good climate, incredible vibe, people that have strength, joy and kindness – it’s a big list. And these people, as well as you athletes and all workers involved in Rio 2016 Olympics, need some respect. You have mine and now have also my cheering. Go for it, girl!

  48. Great article. I live in Australia and I was embarrassed when the media began their assault on Rio,claiming our athletic committee feared for the safety of our athletes. Plus the golfers who pulled out because they feared the Zika virus. How much of the hype and negativity is true we as observers will never know as we are fed negativity daily. The athletes have worked hard,they are excited,they want to represent their country. Let’s dissect the games when they are over as while they are in progress it will as always be the most exciting two weeks of the year. Good luck. You sound like a very intelligent person. Thank you for an unbiased article.

  49. Megan, I’m wishing you the best of luck! I’ve loved the Olympics my whole life and I wish the host city / country much success, too! If I could have earned a place on an Olympic team, I would’ve competed anywhere the Olympics was held.

  50. Good luck to you Megan. Having been married to a Brazilian, and visiting Manaus/Amazon, Salvador,Brasilia Goiania, Rio, and San Paulo in 1998 I would only say be careful. The issues are not about nationalism. Rio beaches/waters at that time were filthy. I will not describe it because since then it has gotten worse and others have. They are telling the truth.I would also make sure that your hotel is not in the downtown area surrounded by the favela’s. Even at that time we were advised not to go on the roof to the pool of the hotel. Finally, have a window seat on the plane going into Rio. That way you can view for miles the complete and abject poverty of the people. It is an incredibly sad situation. Goals are goals. And quite possibly your participation, commitment, and strength could be a voice for change.

  51. I encourage to do at least a minimal amount of research about the IOC and the workings behind the Olympics. The Olympics are a completely corrupt event that willingly destroys communities in the name of corruption and profit. This has nothing to do with you, and all about showing a shred of humanity to the people who live their lives in this area, and will be completely fucked over by the event and politicians. There’s a reason why the people of Brazil are protesting, but you’re too blind to see. The corrupt politicians could’ve used all the money that went into bribing the IOC and building these venues into bettering the lives of the citizens THAT ACTUALLY HAVE TO LIVE THERE. When the Olympics are over in a couple weeks, Rio is going to be billions of dollars poorer, and left with a bunch of vacant buildings and venues that will eventually fall into ruin as has been seen by every Olympic city of the past. Especially in poorer countries.

    So I ask, why would we ever want this shameful event to come to Chicago? To anyone with the most minimal amount of knowledge on the situation it would be a disgrace to allow it. Thank god we didn’t. And we should protest it every time until t he corruption in the IOC is fixed.

    Also, you saying you would get into shit water for the US is just weird and disgusting. It is not prideful. Just the fact that you people are competing in these Olympics is a national embarrassment. The athletes from around the world who’ve boycotted these Olympics because of corruption and human rights violations are the true heroes of their countries.

    Sorry, but sports and national pride absolutely does not come before human dignity. So don’t say you’re doing this for America. You’re doing this in the name of Ignorant America.

    You’re completely missing every single point people bring up when we’re “hating on the Olympics”. We aren’t shaming the regular citizens of Brazil. We’re shaming the corruption of the politicians, IOC, athletes and everyone who allows this godforsaken event to go on and ruin people’s lives, instead of investing the money to help its most vulnerable citizens.

    You even said it yourself, you live in your little Olympic bubble when your in the Olympics. Take a couple minutes out of your Olympic bubble and actually look at what you people are doing to these people’s live. For one example

  52. Megan, I’m curious. How did you walk on without any experience back in 2002? You must have worked your tail off. Will be rooting for you! So happy the Olympics are here! I remember watching the closing ceremony in 2012 where they passed the torch to Rio thinking “4 years is forever to wait”!!!

    1. Her and everybody else unfortunately seem to completely miss the point of why people hate the Olympics.

  53. Also and I don’t mean this negatively but if you are European in appearance basically Caucasian you are better treated in Brazil than anyone from African descent South America are together tend to be very very racist towards anyone that’s black or brown and of course there’s rude people all around this world and racism is all around this world no matter what color you are in Brazil it is very very racist towards dark-skinned people which is completely crazy because there’s so many there but you should be fine

  54. I oppose the Olympics and it has nothing to do with the horrible water conditions or any of that I just supposed that it represents and how hundreds of people become homeless so that we can build for the Olympics and of course the problem is so much more deeper but for all the people that work so hard and compete I am very athletic so I respect that because it is hard work and I’m sure it’s a great pride to represent your country so good luck and don’t let whatever the retarded media and people that follow it say

  55. good luck! I wish you all the best. Just focus on your goal and do your best, that’s what truly matters.

  56. Totally agree! I’m currently in Brazil for a vacation to visit some Brazilian friends of mine, and whenever I told people of my plans the first thing they would bring up is Zika, or that it’s a dangerous place, or that I better bring a lot of sunscreen (that last one wasn’t all that negative – I do need a lot of sunscreen. But that’s beside the point). It was frustrating for me as well, that people just look at Brazil from what they see in the media. No matter where you go there are going to be things you need to be careful of. But that’s just it: Be careful! And Brazilian people are some of the most friendly, helpful people that I’ve met! Even just the fact that almost everyone knows a BIT of English here says something! And so far, I have enjoyed every bit of my trip!
    Go Brazil, and have fun at the Olympics!!

    1. In Africa we have a saying “go see for yourself and come back and tell”
      Point is you did right following your mind. We all have different views on things.

  57. I love it! I have not spoken to much people or read stuff from people that made the same point, and I fully agree! The Olympics are something we should enjoy, and we should use the run-up to promote it, to take a look at all the athletes and sports that will take place, to appreciate the beautiful nature there! Not to complain about how much plastic bags are in the water.
    I would really love to read some more blogs from you on the Olympics! (Or on sports in general).

  58. Megan, why don´t you put your big nose elsewere instead of writing about how cariocas must feel? You have no clue on what we have to face daily, so shut the fuck up! Hope you have the cramps while rowing …

  59. Finally, some brains out there! Water and sewage are issues for many Brazilians and the Olympics will not solve it, of course. But more important: the Games are not taking out any money that could be used to provide Brazilians sound water or health services or better schools or whatever. It is true that we are going under an economic crisis right now but at least since the beginning of this century this country has had all the conditions to rightly face these challenges. Why they are still there is a political issue.

    Anyhow, I will be at the grandstands by the Lagoon and I hope you feel our gratitude while rowing.

  60. How can I describr my feelings after reading such special words?! I’m brazilian from Rio de Janeiro, Muito obrigada wize and nice ladie, you are WELCOME!!

  61. As a carioca I’m so glad to read such a honest post. Hope you feel welcome in my city and that you friends and family have a great experience!
    It is so nice when americans and europeans understand that Brazil is a third world country going through an economical and political crisis and that we are doing our best. Maybe we don’t have all the luxury that we wish to offer you, but we welcome you with a warm heart.
    God bless you and your teammates! Hope you do your best!

  62. Megan, thank you so much for your words. Unfortunately Brazil is undergoing a crisis never ever seen, but people involved in the Olympic Games organization are really compromised to delivery the best possible…We will support you, as you shown support us to do nice Olympic Games!

  63. I think a lot of people are upset about the Olympics because it tends to leave poor cities poorer and does little to help the disadvantaged. If anything, the disadvantaged are royally screwed. No where is this seen more clearly than Rio.

  64. The media feels obligated to keep us all entertained 24/7 so they go on and on covering topics way too long. You have accomplished way more than any of them so be proud, enjoy yourself and row your heart out! Most normal, respectful people are behind you all the way. Good luck.

  65. Thanks for a great article. Sorry it had to be written. I am a huge fan of the olympics and will be cheering everyone on. Rowing is a favorite in our house!

  66. Hi Megan! Thank you for this wonderful post!

    At the World Cup we faced the same media attack and at the end was AMAZING and most of the Tourist loved it!

    Its annoing to see some people who never been here or even left America making fun and giving opinions about our issues.

    We are very good hostest,
    Locals are Warm and Lovely and I am
    sure you and your team will love our culture, nature, atmosphere and the event. Brazilians definetly know how to party and celebrante even in hard moments.

    I wish you all the best, good luck for you and your team. You got a new fan!!

    Positive thoughts, atitude and wishes is all we need in the world, specially places with many issues to solve as my Beautiful country. 🙏🏻

    ❤️ #gomegan

  67. Megan, Thanks for support our efforts to make the best that we can to sponsor the Olympic Games in Rio. As a Brazilian citizen, I fell awful every time that someone is just trying to highlight the negative points. Most of Brazilian people, including me, were against to make this worldwide event here in Brazil, because we knew that all money spent in new Stadiums, Buildings, etc., should be used to provide the basic infrastructure as Hospitals, Roads, Schools, among others. Unfortunately our previous President Lula and his megalomania thought that it would make us a better country. Big mistake. Worst than that is to embrace this task which the biggest majority of the Brazilian people were against, do the best we can to deliver the task and just receive severe critics at the end. Frustrating! Rio is the way it is since many decades ago. Why IOC did not check it before to award us with this honor? Many of the promises done were simply impossible to accomplish since the beginning. And now only what Brazilians are feeling is shame, being smashed by all journalists, including the Brazilian ones, on how ridiculous are our installations, how dirty is our water, how invaded by mosquitos we are…this is incredibly sad.
    I can assure for all foreigners that are reading this message now: Brazilians did not ask for that, but all we want now is to make the best to offer you a pleasant stay.
    Megan, you deserve a Gold Medal. I hope you get it in your sport. If not, you should receive one from our Government for being courageous enough of saying what you think.
    Many, many thanks!

  68. While I admire your heartfelt response, and will be cheering for Team USA (though born here, I grew up in America), I would argue that the negative international media push is only now growing after a big push from Brazilians and Brazilian media who are outraged at the mess which their fabulous city, Rio, and country have become. We were offered many promises post-World Cup and instead are left with empty stadiums in cities that don’t even have football teams. The Olympics have been no different. Nearly every promise made about betterment for the city has not been fulfilled, well, except for the recolation of poor communities for the building of the Olympic Park, which apparently was not up to Australian standards.

    The issues facing Rio, which the media latch on to, are not just an Olympic problem but issues that Cariocas face on a daily basis, and once the glitz and glamour (and awesome sportsmanship) is gone, the city will continue its steady collapse. I have friends and colleagues who have lived and worked in Rio since as far back as the 70s and they see firsthand the mess that their Marvelous City has become.

    The International media has actually been a bit soft compared to the criticisms that people down here have. Once you are down, I am almost positive that you will be shielded in the Olympic bubble and probably won’t experience the dark side of Rio, considering some athletes have already been mugged and even kidnapped!!! I sincerely hope you don’t. The criticism is there because it is real, it’s not sensationalist, it’s the reality of Rio. And since I have been to the city twice, and know what it is like firsthand, I choose not to go back if possible.

    Best of luck and go Team USA. And if you have a moment post games to go and experience the city, go for it. Some people do still love it, warts and all.

    God Bless!

  69. Congrats Megan. Your statements embody what it means to be an American. In the Olympics as in life sometimes you have to row through shit to get what you want for the people you love. Andy Dufresne crawled through 500 yards of unimaginable shit-smelling foulness to find freedom in Zihuatanejo. I predict you will row through the same to win a gold medal in Rio . I’ve never watched a rowing event in the Olympics but I’ll be damned if I miss yours. Good luck! Go USA!

  70. Welcome to Brazil. I’m sure, though, you will be well received and treated. All countries have problems, but the experience will one day make the population to have an end goal in around improving the quality of life for all. We have many corrupt and this slows down the development of a country, but pretty soon everyone will be purged. We live a striking stage here now!.
    Have a great Olympic Games dear.

  71. Maybe for you this shit in the water is OK. And you are proud of it.
    “I went through shit for my country!” Perfect phrase for the headline in tabloids..
    For me – NOT.
    You race on the closed course where the water quality is waaaaayyy better.
    You mentioned that it will be your first time in South America.
    I’m right now 5th time already in Rio since 2014.
    And tell you… Everytime I came – was worse. They didn’t do ANY thing that can improve water quality by a visible margin.
    And it is not only this shit you mentioned. We don’t mind shit. For us, sailors the biggest issue are the debree floating everywhere. Just tons of the trash in the waters of Guanabara bay.. Catching such a thing ie. plastic shopping bag or hitting floating TV ends in lost race. Loosing 2 races? You can forget about the good result.
    You race 3 days? We almost 10.
    Why we (and they) are still talking about the shit in the water?
    Because there ARE people responsible for this situation!
    And they HAVE TO ACT!
    We can not order them to do things they are taking money for, but we can make a pression. And that’s what we doing.
    Hoping for improvement.

    Good luck in your attempt in Rio.

    Marek Galkiewicz
    coach POL Team

  72. As much as I agree with a lot of what this author has said, it still doesn’t alleviate the fact that there are still MANY serious issues happening that (mostly) predate the coming Olympics. My brother will be competing in these Olympics and about 12 of my family and relatives will be attending and I am, I won’t say frightened, but concerned for them after the many reports over the past few months to years. Don’t get me wrong, I would have been attending if I had the funds, no matter what, but ce la vie. While I do tease my family about all the threats that are arising in Rio, they all know (my brother most importantly) knows that I am extremely jealous and I will be cheering my bro on from home! I was in Beijing 2008 and I was in London 2012 and I never heard of threats, like the ones they face in Rio, in the upcoming months to those Olympics. To me, this author seems a little over-frustrated, with the commentary she’s hearing regarding these Olympics. Sadly, you’re always going to have critics, and to you, all I can say is, forget about the naysayers and focus on your competition. Your friends and family will be cheering you on much like me and my family will be cheering my brother on. That’s all that really matters in the end. Doesn’t matter the water conditions to you or whoever is watching, as long as you’ve been preparing for your sport, you will do great. There will always be obstacles outside of your control (trust me, my brother, and myself know) but as a respected Olympic athlete like you are, you will overcome and rise above all of the hate and negativity and pessimism. Best of luck to you and the American team in the upcoming Olympics!

    From a brother of a Canadian Olympic Athlete

  73. Dear Megan,
    When I finished reading your excellent post, went for a 7.5 km run. Know where? At the jogging path that goes around the place that you’re going to win your medal. At my run, I was thinking what to write for you, since the above responses said much of what I had to say (at least, most of them…). So, here we go: at the start of your races, look to your left side and up, to the top of the highest mountain. There you’re going to see a big white statue, with His arms open, to receive you and all the others athletes and families that are coming to Rio. And I’m sure He will give that extra strength that you have inside.
    And even don´t worry about rowing through shit. It’s all bullshit. My 14 year old son, who’s at my side now, has been rowing there since he was 12… He and the rest of our family will be cheering for you!!! We have tickets for the stands at the finish line on the 8th and 11th of August. Hope to see you there!!!
    Alvaro Brandão Cavalcanti Filho
    PS: You already have won a gold medal for us!!!

  74. Megan,

    That’s the magic of the Olympic Games and you get it well!! I know Brazil is going through a bad political and economic time but I’m sure Brazilians are trying their best to make this Games memorable.
    You have my respect and I hope you go for the gold!! The world need more people like you.
    I’m a Brazilian but I’ll be cheering for you.



  75. At best I am apathetic about the Olympics in general. But this post seen on the Guardian made me want to cheer for American in Rio. To say ‘hell yeah Girl!’ and btw your donate links are broken. But I loved the intensity and utter honesty here. Made my day.

  76. Dear Megan Kalmoe,

    I’m a former SARS frontline worker with 20 years experience in healthcare. I’ve been in touch with the scientists who called for a postponement of the Rio Games.

    You might feel we are “trying to ruin” the Olympics for you. But in reality, we are trying to spare you and thousands of people (who don’t even attend the games) from disease and great human suffering.

    Here are facts that you probably are unaware of:

    Olympic athletes are almost certain to come into contact with disease-causing viruses that measured up to 1.7 million times the level of what is considered hazardous, according to an AP investigation.

    On the WHO’s page Water quality for the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro it actually states:

    “WHO does not currently recommend testing of viruses …” even though they also state:
    “There are specific exceptional circumstances where viral testing may add value, such as part of an investigation into a confirmed outbreak of disease where there may be a viral cause.”

    I asked on my blog: “WHAT?! Doesn’t the Zika virus count? Since Culex quinquefasciatus [proven to carry Zika] prefer breeding in polluted, sewage-laden waterways, I’d bet my bottom dollar that Rio’s Olympic waterways are teeming with the Zika virus.”

    On June 11th, 2016, Reuters reported: “Rio’s Olympic organizing committee referred questions on water quality to state authorities. Rio state’s Inea environmental agency responded in an email that they: “follow the WHO’s recommendations” and that “searching for super bacteria is not included in that.”

    Unreal! They don’t test for viruses nor super bacteria.

    Peter Sowrey was fired as chief executive of World Sailing when he asked for a change of venue for the athletes – he didn’t resign. Nearly 1,400 athletes at this summer’s Olympics will come in contact with highly contaminated waterways.

    Distance swimmer Lynne Cox made a plea in People magazine that is worth a read called “Don’t Make Heroes ‘Swim Through Sewage:’ Swimmer Warns of Olympic Venues’ ‘Severely Polluted’ Waters” which states:

    “These two swimmers got infections that affected the rest of their lives in huge ways,” Cox says.

    Within a few months of this race, swimmer Chip Peterson was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease … he ultimately had to have his colon removed as a result of the disease.

    Peterson’s teammate in the 2007 race, Kalyn Keller Robinson, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a related condition, and soon retired from swimming all together.

    I wrote an open letter to athletes and sponsors to help give you “informed consent” (you deserve that, in the very least). Please have the courage to look at all of the facts:


  77. The Olympic Athlete has to stay focused on her training and stay positive for her competition, but outside of this she is not let off the hook in her judgments and views. The Rio Olympics will have shifted the public wealth of Rio and Brazil to the wrong areas and the wrong people. I hope the Olympics never again comes to the US or Canada again, not until the Olympic movement and IOC go through some major transformation and reforms.

  78. Seja bem vinda ao Brasil!
    Adorei seu texto, e seu posicionamento sobre as Olimpíadas em meu país. E se ele não estiver na final em seu esporte, torcerei por você.
    Beijos. E boa sorte nos jogos!

  79. Thanks for trying to throw some cold, clean water on the face of all the fire-starters!

    I have lived in Rio my whole life and all I can say is that I feel truly blessed. Rio is not paradise, but it comes pretty close.

    We are a warm and welcoming people and we are all very aware of all the work an athlete like you has to go through to be where you are.
    You, and all other atletes, will be welcommed to YOUR party by everyone in Rio. We hope that you achieve great feats and that you take back great memories.
    We are fully aware of our shortcomings… But we hope we can overcome them and show you our best side while you are here.

  80. Dear MK. Life doesn’t revolve around you. If you don’t want to hear about problems, go to Disneyland

  81. Good article Megan but you left out one thing. Why isn’t the Media reporting on Michigan’s potable water, Great lakes water and Florida’s waters? Well you properly know the answer but I will tell the others BIG corporations like MONSANTO’S for the Great Lakes and Big SUGAR in Florida. And who knows for Michigan.
    Good luck and bring home the GOLD
    Gooo USA

  82. What you don’t understand is that for us is shame. We paid to receive the foreign very well and we got robed as usual. We are out of work, our city is a caos, our country is drowning, our economy and politics are shameless… we get robbed by other, by our politicians on a day by day basis. For the Olympics to come here we got even more robbed, violence is even bigger, people are starving more, suffering more… for us is a opportunity for the world to knowledge what we are living and maybe we have a chance…we don’t what to have all this and in exchange more violence, more unemployed people, more expensive food and medicine, less education, less opportunity, less health… easy for you. You just whant to pretend is all beautifull, and what is not, fuck is not your bussiness…your gonna go back with or without your medal and your life won’t change, but we are gonna be on Hell. But your feet on others shoes before talking. We Brazilians are a shamed, we are sad, we are suffering.

    1. Rafaella Pereira, speak for yourself.. you DON”T represent me as a brazilian, nor a Carioca. MK represents what is awesome in human nature; Sports! Take your problems, some are mine too and take it to whoever is responsible. NOT the athlets. You can only learn from them….

      1. Fernando, everyone deserves a voice. And from what I’ve seen, many in Brazil agree with Rafaella. You my friend, appear to be in the minority.

  83. As a Brazilian resident in the US I will be cheering for you Megan! Your kind words means a lot! And cheers for the magic of the Olympic games!!

  84. Congratulations for the brilliant text! It was the most lucid opinion I saw up today on the Olympics .

  85. Thank you for this perspective – I’ll be honest I’ve been guilty of re-posting a few articles about the water conditions over there. However every time it came up in discussion and people suggested that you guys just refuse to row, I explained to them that there is no way that would ever happen. There’s no way these athletes will give up year of training, pain, tears, and sacrifice just because they might get sick. That just isn’t what Olympians do. I’ve watched every Olympics since I was born – even taking off from work to watch certain events/finals. I go to the Charles after every Olympics to meet members of the team – you are all incredible athletes as well as humble – amazing role models for younger athletes. My family raised me to have a deep respect for the games and everyone who participates in them. I guess it was a bit hypocritical to be posting negative things about it.
    Personally I was just concerned for all of your health – I spent a few days wading in chest deep dirty water during Hurricane Sandy and ended up sick as a result of it – but I wouldn’t have changed a thing because we went out there and did what needed to be done. I have a feeling your mentality isn’t all that different – I totally understand – I was just worried- the US Rowing team is by far my favorite team to watch in any event :) I’m sure there are multiple safety and hygiene protocols in place for all of you though, and I’m trusting that they’ll make a huge impact on keeping you guys healthy and ready and medal.
    Several of my old teammates and I have already printed out the rowing schedule and made sure we won’t be stuck working or doing anything else so we can watch the events – especially the finals. We’ve got our shirts, our flags, and our voices ready to scream at the TV and cheer all of you on. Go out there and kick some ass! GO TEAM USA! 🇺🇸

  86. You are a noble woman! Congratulations for this wonderful text! More than an American , you are a citizen of the world !!! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

    Welcome In Brazil !!!!

    From Rio , João Henrique 🌹🙏🏽😘

  87. Megan
    I live in front of the lagoon where the rowing competitions will take place. I can ensure you, you and your team will love the place, the scenery and the city. Ans especially the hospitality of the locals.

    Thank you for this post.
    I wish you all the best, good luck for you and your team.


  88. THANK YOU!! This was great!! I’m 50y old, live in Rio and was a rower for a long time and i’m “alive” somehow(!?). Since we have almost none brazilian team count on me and lots of others to be there to cheer you guys on..

  89. Please note that the Brazilian people did not ask for the Olympics, we have major problems to deal with first. So, we have all the rights to be pessimistic about it, OK?=)) But good luck on these waters – in every sense=)

  90. In reality, Megan Kalmoe winning a Bronze medal at Rio 2016 doesn’t matter at all. People will watch your races for a couple weeks, and forget about this within a month.

    What does matter are the thousands and thousands of Brazilians who have been marginalized in their own country due to the corrupt dealings of the IOC and Brazilian government as well as the absolute disregard for human rights in poorest regions of Rio.

    You really need a reality check Megan. You are being incredibly selfish, and American’s dont owe you anything. So yes I think it is important that people focus on terrible water quality, corruption, crime and zika, and not your 15 minutes of fame.

  91. I can see where you are coming from as an athelte – and cheering for your best performance -, but would be interesting to see you saying that to one of the 2.450 people (until Feb 2014) thats was forcefully removed by the Government from their houses due to the construction of the Vila Olimpica, to host the event.
    The only thing as a person that was born and raised in Rio – that had to see all my life the Government take advantages of any event to pocket more money on their private accounts – is, your statement here reminds of Ronaldo stating that “you don’t organize a world cup by building hospitals”. We need hospitals and infrastructure and not to have people removed from their houses.
    And if this is a moment for the world press to show how bad Rio’s administration has been please let everone see what we have to endure on a daily basis.
    Did you know they built a cycle path that the total cost was 44 millions and it colapsed less than 3 months after open to public and two people died?
    I think that somethings we need to have an open dialogue and keep it on the media even when they are negative – specially because you will all leave and the city is left behind with these administrators.
    Best of luck on the games!

      1. I live near the Olympic Centre and the people who have been removed were living in pretty bad conditions. There were moved to a new apartaments with much better public services. There were living in illegal construction with no sewage and trowing trash in the lagoon nearby. It was a dirty slum that needed to go. I apreciate the removal of the slum and the cleanner laggon thanks to that.

  92. Loving you since this post. Your approach with our city is a lot cooler than some others are doing. You will definetely have a great time in Rio cause you have already won our hearts and cariocas/Brazilians will all be chearing for you. Congrats and good olympics! S2

  93. Thanks for this excellent post! I am Brazilian, I am concerned about all the issues we face everyday. I know many of the expenditures involving the Olympic Games have been excessive, but now that everything is ready, why can’t the press recognize the good aspects of this event? Such as exposing different sports to Brazilians and other people from Latin America and, of course, making it possible for the best athletes in the world to compete together.

    It also makes me angry when the press mentions the Zika virus all the time and it doesn’t even consider that the virus was brought to Brazil (most likely) in 2013 during the Confederations Cup. It’s a risk inherent to global travel and it’s not our fault! Viruses unfortunately will always circulate around the globe and it’s not Brazil’s fault!

    Wish you all the best.

  94. Megan Kalmoe sou Brasileiro e já tenho para quem torcer no remo!! Go Megan Kalmoe!

  95. Practical and simple… Just the way i like!!! I’m born and raised in Rio, i know our problems, we know it!!! I live really near the Olimpic park and the olimpic vila, i saw the city changing and its not time do be negative… Its time to make this moment special for you guys and for us, i know you gonna love our “trashy dirty dangerous” city, our funk, our samba, and our 85f at winter time! hahahaha Good luck for us, for u and the entire world!!! <3

  96. Enjoy. Enjoy everything g about the ‘fricken OLYMPICS, baby!’ Post lots of pics. Obviously your head will be in the games. Best of luck.

  97. Megan, let me just say that, as someone who has chosen to work here and do what I can to be a part of the solution rather than the problem, your word were very motivating for me and my colleagues. We are all trying our best. We’re trying to bring the Village up to par, we’re trying to calm the fears the NOCs and NPCs have about all the negative press but it seems that regardless of the efforts everyone here is putting in, nothing but negativity comes out of the media. So, thank you for your words. They really mean something and are proof that we are not doing this for nothing. That there are athletes and NOCs/NPCs who do appreciate our effort.

    Good luck in the race! It is a truly stunning venue!

  98. I cannot wait to watch you ladies compete and I am a proud American who is proud of you and your hard work and wish nothing but the best for you ALL!!!

  99. Among my friends and family I’m the one who gets the most obsessed with the Olympics–both Summer and Winter. Every two years, I have cable installed for one month so that I can watch every game, every match, every athletic performance and not just the ones they choose to highlight during prime time. I begin my countdown to each games from the day the cities win their bid and inundate my FB friends with posts and constant reminders to tune in and watch and support Team USA and all of the athletes competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
    But #Rio2016 has been a different ball game for me. The incessant negativity surrounding these games–the political turmoil and financial ruin afflicting Brazil, the diseases plaguing its people and its resources, and the general dissatisfaction with the Games–all of this has made me feel guilty for wanting to celebrate this great and wonderful event.
    Hearing about athletes protesting the games for various reasons–most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the games–made me feel that I should somehow be protesting as well. But of the 550+ American athletes heading to Brazil the fraction of those choosing not to go under some sort of protest barely even registers anymore.
    I needed to read this blog. I needed to be reminded by an athlete–correction, an Olympian–to stop being negative. Thank you for the reminder, Megan.
    I don’t have to tell you to row your heart out because I’m sure that’s what you do every single day at every single practice. That’s what puts you and your teammates above the rest. That’s why you’re going to the Olympics. But I can assure you I will be screaming and cheering from my living room and wishing like hell that I could be there to cheer you on in person. Go TEAM USA!!

  100. megan, ihioe you suceed in your goals, but the criticism of the olympics here is very justified, especially for us who are going to stay in the city, because we live here… in your case you´ll do your work and leave. or situation is not so easy.

  101. thank you for the smack up side my head… I used to look forward to the games (especially the Winter games) but I think I got disenchanted by all the bad press. Good luck to you and win a Gold best wishes in the future….. I have to cheer for anyone who will “row in shit for us”

  102. Although I will be cheering for all the athletes from my home we call Canada, this is an outstanding and we’ll written article. Good luck, stay safe and compete like never before. May your dream of the podium come true.

  103. Eloquent, heartfelt, and right on point! I am IN Rio for the games, staying 2 blocks from the Lagoa. It is looking beautiful. The organizers are trying very hard to overcome the many challenges to be sure the Olympic Games will go on, and be successful…In spite of the media, the public, and all the internet naysayers. I’ll be here cheering on every athlete who has dedicated his or her life to rising to the top, especially Team USA. Thanks for your insight, and Good Luck!!!

  104. Good luck! Stay focused and continue your positivity! Your country supports you! Go USA! Thanks for being a light to the (generally) negative portrayal of the Rio games.

  105. I live in Rio and practice rowing, in the exact place you will race, for 11 years. I am no X-men, but I never had any disease or even a skin problem. I guess the only problem you’ll have will be trying to focus, because you’ll be right on the bottom of Cristo Redentor’s statue, that is really beautiful. Good luck, good trip and enjoy the games. Our arms will be wide open waiting for you all.

  106. Most training venues for rowing (be they rivers or lakes) have some sort of health risk attached to them. This is not news to rowers. I’ve rowed through silt, sewage, oil, industrial chemicals and a rainbow of algae types. And dead fish.

    I’d love to go somewhere exotic and row there for a change!

    I hope you have a lot of fun in Rio.

  107. The relative ease with which your dismissing the plight of millions is pretty disturbing.

    1. I’m curious which part of this post seemed dismissive to you. To me, it seems clear that Megan is talking about the media asking athletes about water quality – athletes who are not experts about water, or city planning, or economics. She’s not dismissing the people who live in Rio – if anything, she’s dismissing the American journalists who seem to only focus on these negative aspects of the Games.

    2. I too fail to understand how this is a ‘good’ article. Willful blindness!?!

      It’s unfathomable how little this elitist – so called ‘non-profit’- organization has done in terms of upholding what they claim to be a “commitment to building a better world through sport”. The opulent nature of these events says it all. Sports are great, but certainly not at the expense of human dignity.

  108. As an elite athlete you are a role model to the invisible many wishing it were better for themselves, unfortunately it’s the burden of the privilege and the opportunity that you need to excel and inspire the countless who are watching, listening and reading. Well done so far, but you need to realise that you are missing the point of co-existing in your perfect 5 ring bubble and the luxury it contains.
    The issue of dirty water, relates directly to the quality of health & service that the locals of Rio (or any developing country) are exposed to on a daily bases….speaking out as any normally person or elite athlete is recognizing the contrast of the massive spend for the Olympics excellent spectacle every other four years vs the basic services in could render the needy habitants hoping for a better daily quality of life…..
    My suggestion is once you have completed your last race and dealt with the fanfare engagements, do one thing before you leave and take a tour of the Rio heart and visit a dirty Favela, see the effect of poverty, drugs and lack of opportunity, then ask yourself if the discussion of water quality or sanitation is important to the many voiceless inhabitance who can’t afford to complain!
    Good luck, I’m sure the penny will drop sooner of later.

    1. I completely understand where you are coming from, but I don’t think we are quite on the same page. I never meant to imply that there are not serious economic, environmental and social issues at play in Brazil that are worth discussing. I do think it is important that people are aware of the complex challenges Olympic host cities face, and in this particular case, that Rio may have more than any other host city ever has.
      My point is more that I am taking some issue with the way in which these discussions are regularly being framed in the mainstream media. Stories about the water quality seem to contain information and opinions from some experts, but there is very little being said on how the global community can make an effort to utilize the power of the Olympic Movement to enact change in Rio. Legacy is a huge issue! But for every 1 story on the Olympic Legacy in Rio, there seem to be 20 snarky, dark reads that offer no thoughtful analysis for readers. What I feel, is that these stories are promoting greater polarization and isolationism between our countries and Brazil out of an manufactured sentiment of self-righteous disappointment. I hate that. It reminds me of the saying, “the only time you should look down on someone, is when you are offering to help them up”
      Only in this case, no one is offering.
      Most athletes do not have the appropriate background to take educated and informed stances on the social challenges we see in Rio. What we do have is the authority to speak on being athletes and ambassadors to our own nations. I have not suggested that no one talk about water quality, or that it is not important. Just that the media who do can do better, and that athletes have probably already contributed everything to the conversation that we are qualified to share. I’d like my Team and our supporters to focus on gratitude and compassion, and right now that’s already a pretty big ask for Americans.
      Thanks for your comment.

      1. As water is the essence of life its quality is a global concern, regardless where you are in the world the ignoring the issue of dirty water is ignoring the cause and effect that effects all at a primary level.
        Rio is a prime example where a massive population is teetering under a unrealistic cloud of hope for a better life that the Olympic bonanza might bring and correctly so most fear the vacuum the hype and extravagance will leave after the last medal is handed out.
        We witnessed this here in South Africa after the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, huge promises of a ‘better life for all’ yet the huge sums of money spent on building magnificent stadiums, hosting events for the VIPs to party it up, and lets us not forget the brides paid to influence the fat cats who suffocate the street pedlar from cashing in on flogging any thing ‘unofficially’ it is sad contrast of reality. Once the glitter was swept up, many hopefuls now struggle without jobs, most stadiums stand empty and unable to be utilized sustainability and some are falling into disrepair & worst being stripped by desperate people for housing or selling off the material…This over investment could have been far better spent on upgrading necessary infrastructure, changing the way people think about creating a better life without the hangover of over indulgence and diverted spending these ‘mega’ events create.
        As a lifeguard, surfer, paddler, sailor, outdoor adventurer etc, as well as a concerned environmentally driven product designer & innovator it is evident that the landfills, rivers and water ways are being choked with the burden of consumption. Be it the way food is produced, products are designed with planned obsolescences and effect man has in thinking the planet can continue to absorb his poo is alarming.
        Make no mistake, I marvel your sporting achievements,watching we cheer in admiration of the competition and the pursuit of excellence along with the opportunity you athletes are exposed to daily, yet feel there is a disconnect between the Olympic bubble and the real world…
        So Megan, ask your fellow team mates Jordan Wilimovsky or Haley Anderson or any other open water contender how they feel about swimming a marathon in the Rio water and they might feel very differently about the issue?
        Granted all the athletes are very focused upon their personal goals of achieving excellence and greatest at the Olympic dream and yet it seems so trivial the allow yourself to become distracted by external issues but it’s unfortunately pulled along in symbolic veil of hope the Olympic torch represents.
        Yet the question that these ‘journalist’ are really asking is, ‘Knowing the cause of the dirty water and the effect it has, as an elite athlete do you have an opinion to whether it is acceptable and are you able to make a difference to the lives the worlds less privileged, before, during or once you are done with Rio?”

    2. I am with you 100%. I never thought this was about what the athletes may have to endure for 2 weeks, but what the locals will most likely have to endure their entire life.
      So if the ‘negativity’ irks a few people’s mood but can raise awareness for the ones who have to be there their whole life -and considering water issues is, for those of us who are geographically privileged, really not that far away… One day we too will have to deal with dirty water5 and I can’t even imagine how high the negativity-meter will go then…!)…
      So while I will cheer for the athletes and love their commitment to sport and life, I welcome the negativity, it is what it takes to avoid all the ‘if only we had known’ of this world.

  109. Ignore those trolls and know there are many of us out here on pins and needles, rooting for you and all your teammates in your boat and for all the other sports. I had the good fortune to spectate at the Olympics once and it’s a positive, moving experience that everyone should treasure.

    Whether your result is Gold or poop, we’re behind you!! But you can earn that Gold and I hope you do!! Enjoy the experience! It is great your family can share it!!


  110. Rock on. I just went to Rio for work and was blown away by the city’s beauty, its energy, the warmth of its people. You find out what you need to do, and do it, just like any city throughout the world – drink bottled water, watch yourself for safety, wear bug spray, whatever. There was probably a time when the schuylkill was dirtier than the Lagao (which is filled with paddle boats and kayaks, ringed by an active bike and jogging path, right in the heart of the city) one of the only rowing courses I’ve seen with cafe and bike rental a few hundred feet from the starting blocks! Both will be cordoned off for the Games I’m sure… it is a glorious site and city and even if there are hiccups, you are there to rise above and race. Embrace and enjoy!!!

    1. I am with you 100%. I never thought this was about what the athletes may have to endure for 2 weeks, but what the locals will most likely have to endure their entire life.
      So if the ‘negativity’ irks a few people’s mood but can raise awareness for the ones who have to be there their whole life -and considering water issues is, for those of us who are geographically privileged, really not that far away… One day we too will have to deal with dirty water5 and I can’t even imagine how high the negativity-meter will go then…!)…
      So while I will cheer for the athletes and love their commitment to sport and life, I welcome the negativity, it is what it takes to avoid all the ‘if only we had known’ of this world.

  111. Direto! Lição de casa pra todos os que, como eu, não estavam fazendo nada alem de olhar com negatividade: ler, ficar com vergonha, respeitar e mudar a chave para o modo positivo. Tudo é uma questão de olhar e de escolha. Da pra escolher reclamar e olhar a merda, mas da pra escolher olhar para o Cristo Redentor e desejar que seja abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza em respeito e reconhecimento a cada um dos atletas, suas famílias, aos volutarios, ao povo brasileiro que anda tão diferente… Desanimado: sem alma

  112. Megan, as always you inspire. Your words, blunt and too the point as always are also spot on. Go row the best race that you and your team mates have trained so very hard to do. I will and am so proud for you, your team and all you do and represent. All that you just described is what torpedoed the Boston bid for 2024 and I could not be more disappointed. Its tremendously sad that such a wonderful opportunity has been lost here in the northeast. Trolls seem to be the norm now, like road rage. In politics, in daily activities. Be that as it may, I dream of you guys on the podium. I cannot wait to cheer for you. I am so proud and excited for and of you. Go make it happen, the way you for sure know how!!!! Your friend, Dug

  113. Well put Megan. Row hard. Don’t hold anything back. We will be watching and cheering you on. So proud of you!

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