Rio Olympics

Olympics: O'Donovan brothers setting a new trend in the dodgy Rio water

Paul and Gary O'Donovan celebrate with their silver medals
Picture by AP 
Paul McConville

IF Michael Carruth and Wayne McCullough inspired a generation of Irish boxers to lace up the gloves and follow their own Olympic dreams in 1992, then Irish success at Rio could see a run on boats on Christmas lists this year.

It’s all about things aquatic this year with those Skibbereen scallies, the O’Donovan brothers, rowing to silver and Dubliner Annalise Murphy sailing away with a silver too. Chuck in Oliver Dingley chucking himself into a pool and it seems we’re finally making good use of the 1000mm of rain that falls every year.

No need to close the roads for a homecoming parade, just get Paul and Gary to row up the Lee and Annalise to sail up the Liffey.

Of course, a lot focus in Rio hasn’t been so much about what’s happening on the water, as what’s in it. First it was the diving pool going all Incredible Hulk and turning green – and that was even before Oliver Dingley had managed to set foot in it. Then, as Polish pair Magdalena FularczykKozlowska and Natalia Madaj honed in on gold in the double sculls, a fish jumped out of the water and made a dive for the line.

Sadly, the fish failed a random drugs test afterwards and was subsequently stripped of gold, his skin and bones and served up to a Kyrgyzstan weightlifter. We should have known the fish wasn’t ‘clean’, though, as the quality of the water in Rio has been called into question.

British canoe sprinter Jon Schofield has taken to using Coca Cola as mouthwash after accidentally gulping some of the water. Schofield said: “It’s really good at killing stuff in your mouth.” And it seems the dirty water has even been scuppering medal hopes at the Marina da Gloria, with debris getting in the way of sailers and swimmers. “We were in second place but we hit rubbish,” said Brazil’s Samuel Albrecht, who finished eighth.

Aquatic achievements could prove costly for American athletes, not least the seemingly amphibious Michael Phelps. With every Olympic medal coming with a healthy wedge of prize money from the US Olympic Commitee, successful athletes will have to pay tax on these ‘earnings’.

For Phelps, that means his record-breaking tally of 28 medals, which includes 23 golds, could land him with a tax bill of $55,000. It’s hard to know, though, what will cost Ryan Lochte more – his Olympic tax bill or the cost of smashing up a service station toilet. Either way, he’s made quite the splash in Rio.

Rio Olympics

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