Houses stand next to the heavily polluted shore of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, July 30. Just days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Houses stand next to the heavily polluted shore of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, July 30. Just days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Skeeter-dodging is a new Summer Olympics sport

It’s time to break out the Speedos and leotards and remind ourselves where all the NBC channels are. The Summer Olympic Games are upon us.

In our latest poll at HeraldNet.com, we asked which Olympic sport is your favorite. Gymnastics took the gold medal, and this is America, so who cares about the silver and bronze? Anyway, unlike at most Olympics, Rio’s most fascinating events are happening outside the games themselves.

From all accounts, Rio 2016 promises to be an epic slow-speed car crash. Actually slow-speed car crashing would fit right in with the other events behind the scenes:

Mosquito dodging. Brazil is one of the world’s hotspots for the Zika virus. As a result, relay runners may be seen handing off cans of mosquito repellant rather than batons during this year’s races.

Raw sewage eating. Athletes have been warned that drinking water in Rio’s polluted waterways will almost certainly make them violently ill. This is going to be tough on athletes in water-based events such as marathon swimming — as if the idea of “marathon swimming” wasn’t horrible enough on its own.

Russian doping. Dozens of athletes have been banned from the games after it was revealed that performance-enhancing drugs are part of Russia’s training regimen. Government agents were not only switching athletes’ dirty urine samples for clean ones, but were so bad at it that the World Anti-Doping Agency found out. This is the same agency that for years thought Lance Armstrong was just a naturally fit guy.

Random craziness: A tidal wave swamped one of the broadcast centers this week; the Olympic Torch was extinguished in a protest; and a fire erupted at the Olympic Village. At least we know the fire wasn’t set by the Olympic Torch.

It shows true courage to compete in Rio. So props to our best athletes for braving the elements, and let’s hope they don’t drink the water.

— Doug Parry, parryracer@gmail.com; @parryracer

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