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Connecticut Native Prepares for Rowing Competition in Rio Olympics

The Olympics get underway on Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will be a first for rower Austin Hack of Old Lyme, Connecticut. 

Hack said he’s taking recent reports -- that include pollution in the city’s waterways, political unrest, and the Zika virus -- in stride.

"It was such a great and enduring effort for me to reach the Olympics here that I think some of those hazards or other kind of distractions were not really enough to deter me from coming to the games," he said on WNPR's Where We Live. "So, I think I’m really just focused on competing and doing so to the best of my ability."

Tests of Rio’s waterways reveal high levels of bacteria, viruses and contamination from human sewage, according to a study commissioned by the Associated Press.

But Hack said this isn't the first time they've been advised not to get too close to the water. As athletes in a water sport, he said they are taking precautions. 

"We’ve got a special practice uniform that’s supposed to be antimicrobial," Hack said. "We are keeping our water bottles in plastic bags and, you know, just bring hand-sanitizer along with us all the time. So just a couple of little steps that we can take to ensure that we don’t get sick."

Hack’s racing in the men’s eight rowing event and is scheduled to compete during the first week.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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