Milos Raonic Withdraws from Rio 2016 Olympics Due to Zika Virus Concerns

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 15, 2016

Milos Raonic of Canada holds his runner's up trophy after being beaten by Andy Murray of Britain in the men's singles final on day fourteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday, July 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Associated Press

Fresh off a defeat at the Wimbledon finals, Milos Raonic has withdrawn from the 2016 Olympics. 

In a post on his official Facebook page, Raonic explained that his primary reason for not going to Rio de Janeiro is due to concerns about the Zika virus:  

Per the Canadian Press (via SportsNet.ca), Tennis Canada president and CEO Kelly Murumets released a statement regarding Raonic's decision: "We fully respect Milos’ decision as we are sure this is not one he made easily. Milos represents Canada proudly week after week around the world and we look forward to future opportunities for him to join Team Canada again on the court."

Raonic is the latest in a long line of athletes to withdraw from this year's Olympics due to concerns about the Zika virus.

Newsday documented some of the athletes who have already announced they will not go to Rio specifically because of the uncertainty around the Zika virus. The list is made up primarily of golfers, including Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, with Raonic and cyclist Tejay van Garderen being the two non-golfers. 

Per Maggie Fox of NBC News, "people attending the Olympics in Brazil next month are unlikely to accelerate the spread of Zika virus around the world, U.S. federal health officials said."

Fox's report also noted that August is a winter month in Rio and "mosquitoes that carry Zika are not very active in the cool, dry winter months."

There are three weeks before the 2016 Olympics kick off on August 5. Athletes are taking what they believe to be necessary safety precautions in an effort to ensure their long-term health. 

Raonic's absence from tennis does weaken the field, especially since he is Canada's best hope for a medal in the men's singles competition. However, he's just 25 years old and should have more opportunities at Olympic success in the future. 


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