U.S. Olympic Committee tells athletes to consider not attending Rio Games over Zika virus

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Baku, February 8, AZERTAC

The United States Olympic Committee told U.S. sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.

The message was delivered in a conference call involving USOC officials and leaders of U.S. sport federations in late January, according to the Huffpost Sports.

Federations were told that no one should go to Brazil "if they don't feel comfortable going. Bottom line," said Donald Anthony, president and board chairman of USA Fencing.

The USOC's briefing to sport federations is the latest sign that Olympics officials are taking the Zika threat to the games in Rio de Janeiro seriously, and acknowledging that at least some athletes and support staff could face a tough decision over whether to attend.

The United States won most medals at the last Olympics in London in 2012, so any disruption to its presence would be important for the Rio games.

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