Hope Solo has never been one to shy away from controversy. Known as one of the most outspoken athletes in U.S Soccer, Solo threatened earlier this year to quit the team and not attend the 2016 Olympic games over fears of the Zika virus. As a result, Solo was booed and taunted with a well orchestrated chant of “Zika” every time she touched the ball on Wednesday’s opening match with New Zealand.
The Zika virus is spread through mosquitoes and Brazil has recently taken a lot of heat as being a place where Zika has been detected and where mosquitoes are prevalent. The city of Rio has also taken a public bashing for not cleaning up areas of standing water where mosquitoes breed or of doing enough to try to control the mosquito population ahead of the opening of the 2016 Olympic games.
Hope Solo, the goalie for the U.S women’s soccer team, has been one of the vocal critics of the lack of preparation by the Government of Brazil and the IOC. She posted several images and updates to her Instagram account showing the massive collection of insect repellent she was packing for Rio and even going as far as donning a mosquito mask and holding a large tup of insect repellent as a way of showing that she was getting ready to avoid the bugs in Brazil. Solo calls her collection of mosquito spray and repellent her #DeptOfDefense.
When asked about the chants and boos by the NY times, Solo was positive about the story saying that the fans are “having fun.” Solo added that she would rather hear the chants than to have a quiet stadium. “At least it’s loud in the stadium. I’d rather have that than hear a needle drop.” Solo added.
I guess at least with a loud chorus of boos and chants of “Zika” you at least don’t get distracted by the loud buzzing of mosquitoes.
The Zika virus is just one of the stories to watch while the games commence. The U.S women’s soccer team is another and the two stories will likely reach a climax if the heavily talented U.S team plays the equally regarded Brazilian team later on in the games. We can expect to hear more chants from upset Brazilian citizens whenever Solo touches the ball.