Hope Solo is blaming the American media for spreading fear about the zika virus and other problems ahead of the Rio Games.
Hoping to lead the US to its fourth straight gold medal, Solo had expressed her own concerns before the Olympics.
“We haven’t made it to Rio yet and I have no idea what to expect in Rio, but it’s been beautiful here,” Solo said ahead of today’s women’s soccer opener against New Zealand, to be played in the same city where the US men upset England in the 1950 World Cup.
“It’s a little bit unfortunate because I think the American media has been really tough on the people of Brazil,” Solo said.
“I feel a little bit bad because when you come here you learn for yourself. I think that we’ve been very hard on the local people.”
The Americans are trying to win a title for the second straight year following last year’s triumph in the Women’s World Cup. Solo, in her third Olympics, said it seemed problems in Brazil were being blown out of proportion by media in the US.
“You look back in 2004 in Greece, and the same thing there, bad publicity surrounding the games, and China as well,” said the 35-year-old.
“I don’t know why, but we like to sensationalise everything and scare people and then ... when the games go on, everything goes on as planned, ends up being a beautiful tournament. And I expect no less here.”
Solo said she expects “everything to be fine” by the time the team gets to Rio despite concerns about Zika, water pollution, security and shoddy construction.
Solo said she came to Brazil well prepared, especially against zika.
“I spoke to three different infectious disease doctors and specialists. I spoke to them on the phone with my husband as well, and we got to a point where we asked enough questions. We prepared ourselves as best as possible and we got to a level of being as comfortable as we possibly can be.
“I’m wearing mosquito repellent just in case, I know the odds are small but you can never be too safe,” she added.
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