MI rower hopes Olympics will help improve water quality in Rio

Rowing Olympics Grace Latz
Olympic rower Grace Latz (pictured on right) practices in Princeton, New Jersey, ahead of the Olympic Games. (June 2106)

PRINCETON, N.J. (WOOD) — With the start of the Olympic Games just days away, many are concerned about the filthy water in Rio de Janeiro.

Jackson native Grace Latz, a member of the U.S. Women’s rowing team, admits she’s thought about it a lot.

“Having grown up in the Great Lakes region and being on the water every day for this sport, I really feel in tune with what’s going on on the water,” said Latz.

Rio summer Olympics dirty water
A man washes himself in the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 30, 2016.

Latz will be in the thick of the polluted Guanabara Bay, competing in the quadruple sculls for Team U.S.A.

“They’re not going to allow us to compete in something that’s too unsafe, and it’s our responsibility to go there and represent the United States, Latz said.

While Latz was a student at the University of Wisconsin, she created a recycling program at the Badgers football stadium. It was so successful that it was adopted campus wide and  Latz also won the Student Athlete Community Service Award.

Latz hopes by shedding light on the poor water quality that Brazilians deal with every day, the country will be better off when the Olympics end.

“I’m in part glad that with the Olympics being held there it brings attention to the water quality issues for everyone because we’re only there for two or three weeks, but there are people who live there,” said Latz.

“I know that they’ve done the best they can to clean up things and things are greatly improved from what they were. They can only keep building from there,” she added.

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