• 2016 bummer games    May 19 
'Dark, brown, and stinking:' Olympians describe the dump that is Rio's water
MARIO TAMA/Getty Images
MARIO TAMA/Getty Images

A new report from The New York Times describes the water in Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay as one of the most vile places on earth. That's particularly bad, since in two years, the body of water is supposed to play host to the sailing and windsurfing events of the 2016 Summer Olympics. But with reports of floating dog carcasses, sewage contamination, and piles of trash contaminating the water, athletes are becoming increasingly skeptical that this mess of sewage will be a safe environment come 2016.

Several problems, including allegations of corruption and mismanagement, have derailed the bay's cleanup projects since the country pledged to get the water in top shape five years ago. Officials said 80 percent of the water flowing into it would be treated come 2016, but so far, less than 40 percent has been, and what is treated is still extremely tainted.

Those who have dared to dip their feet in Guanabara Bay have blasted the country's cleanup efforts. "Welcome to the dump that is Rio," remarked one German athlete, while Brazilian sailing legend Lars Grael said it was "dark, brown, and stinking." He added that he's spotted human corpses on four different occasions in it.

Rio's top environment official Carlos Portinho dismissed the claims as exaggerated and said the the fecal contamination in the area ranks as "satisfactory" in Brazil. He said new sewage treatment plants, floating "ecobarriers," and high-tech boats will improve the water before the Olympics begin.

- - Jordan Valinsky
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