- There is a norovirus outbreak at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
- Over a thousand people have been quarantined and organizers are trying to inform athletes about how to stay healthy.
- One speed skater said nothing would stop him from competing, comparing the norovirus to Michael Jordan playing through the flu.
As The New York Times’ Andrew Keh detailed, bottles of hand sanitizer have popped up at every turn, and athletes are required to take a dollop before entering the cafeteria. There are signs about proper sneezing and coughing etiquette and Olympic teams are informing their athletes about how to stay healthy.
But not every athlete is panicked, or at least willing to succumb to norovirus, which can cause bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. US speed skater Mitchell Whitmore told Keh he’s competing no matter what.
“If Michael Jordan can play through the flu, I can race with the virus,” he said. “If I break my leg, I’m still racing.”
It would be a cruel bit of irony if these Olympics were hit with any sort of widespread sickness. In the lead-up to the Rio Olympics in 2016, there was great fear about how the polluted water and Zika outbreak would affect athletes. Luckily, there were very few cases of athletes getting sick and the games seemed to run smoothly.
According to Keh, more than a thousand people have already been quarantined to try and prevent the outbreak. But for athletes who have trained all of their lives to get to this level, nothing will stop them from competing.