Rory McIlroy is skipping the Rio Olympics because of the Zika virus

Rory McIlroyJohn David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy has announced that he will skip the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for fear of contracting Zika, via BBC Sport.

“Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take,” McIlroy said in a statement.

The announcement puts McIlroy’s name on a growing list of sports figures who are skipping the games because they don’t want to risk contracting this mystery disease. What this does to the popularity of the games remains to be seen, specifically here in the case of golf. Several other big names, such as Louis Oosthuizen, Vijay Singh, and Adam Scott, among others, have opted out as well.

Furthermore, this development yet again sparks the debate of whether going and competing in this year’s games is really worth it. McIlroy justified not going by saying, “After speaking with those closest to me, I’ve come to realize that my health and my family’s health comes before anything else.”

This obviously is a huge topic of conversation and many who have already withdrawn from the games share the same argument. It’s intriguing and it’s definitely something to monitor with only about 6 weeks remaining until the games begin on August 5th.

What’ll be even more interesting is how this all affects the level of competition at the games. With some of the best talent out, who will step up and put their names in the history books. But that’s a discussion for another article.

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