Pau Gasol, a two-time Olympian and a silver medalist, is having second thoughts joining the Rio Summer Olympics.
Gasol, who is part of the Spanish Olympic team for basketball, said, “I’m thinking about whether to go. Just like every athlete, or any other person considering going to Rio, should be thinking about it.”
He also confirmed that several other athletes are also having doubts. The ones he has talked to are uncomfortable with the idea of competing in a Zika-infested venue. Serena Williams and Rory McIlroy have expressed their concerns regarding the health situation in Rio.
Pau Gasol is concerned over the Zika virus that brings birth-related defects to a baby.
“Some of these athletes I spoke to are planning to have children in the near future and this could affect them, it could affect the health of their kids and their wives. Their health should come first,” Gasol reiterated.
Preparations are underway and show no signs of stalling. Medical experts have already sent an open letter advising the World Health Organization to alter their plans of conducting the games in Rio.
“Are we taking the precautions that will guarantee the health and safety of fans, athletes and other professionals who will travel to Rio, or are we putting financial concerns above the health of millions of people around the world?” USA Today reports Gasol asking reporters in Madrid.
Conducting the Rio Summer Olympics may spread the transfer of the virus faster all over the world, experts warned. However, the WHO has rejected the experts’ appeal.
Gasol further slammed the WHO for downplaying the effects Zika virus may create for the athletes, fans and spectators coming from all over the world.
“I feel responsible to know more about the situation and to inform everyone about it. It’s important to talk openly about this. It’s a very delicate situation,” Gasol said to The Guardian.
Pau Gasol has represented Spain twice. In both occasions, he won silver medals for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games. He currently plays for the Chicago Bulls.