It could be an outlier or the first shoe to drop. Either way it’s more bad news for the Rio Olympics, an event that, from the outside, seems perilously close to disaster.
Early last week the story of golf at the Games was the curious dichotomy between the men and women. Nine men, including the Nos.1, 4, 8, 12 and 14 ranked players in the world, all took passes on playing, all but two of them citing the Zika virus as a concern, while none of the women had made similar calls. Zika doesn’t discriminate based on gender. Since the biggest threat is birth defects, you would think that those who could actually get pregnant would forego the trip to Brazil.
Not so, at least not until last Wednesday when South African Lee-Anne Pace became the first LPGA player to drop out of the Rio Games.
In a prepared statement, Pace wrote: “I was very much looking forward to … being part of the South African Golf Team and the wider South African Olympic Team. However … after weighing up all the options and discussing it with my family and team, I have decided that due to the health concerns surrounding the Zika virus, I will not be participating.”
The fact that a woman finally said “No, thanks,” should come as no surprise. But two months ago, I asked Pace about Zika on the driving range at the Yokohama LPGA Classic and she had no idea what it was. “Never heard of it,” she said through her always pleasant smile. “I heard we are to get some vaccinations but I don’t know what for. I guess I’m going to have to do some reading.”
We can assume she did just that, reading reports of the horrors that can accompany Zika but also about the more pressing dangers in Rio. Like the 9,968 muggings that occurred in the month of May alone…..READ FULL ARTICLE