A majority of Canadians are concerned that health and safety issues surrounding the Rio Games pose a risk to athletes, a poll conducted for CTV News has found.

The Nanos Research poll found that nearly eight in 10 Canadians are either concerned (45 per cent) or somewhat concerned (34 per cent) that issues in Rio such as polluted water and the Zika outbreak pose a risk to athletes competing in the Summer Games.

According to the poll, nearly two in 10 Canadians (10 per cent) are not concerned or somewhat not concerned (nine per cent) with health and safety matters. One per cent of those surveyed are unsure.

The poll was conducted days before Rio welcomed the world for the Summer Games, and amid ongoing fears about polluted beaches and waterways and the Zika outbreak in Rio.

Some high-profile athletes, including golfers Jason Day and Rory McIllroy, pulled out of the Games due to concerns over Zika. Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic said in July that he decided not to participate in the Rio Games “for a variety of health concerns including the uncertainty around the Zika virus.”

And as Olympic authorities continued to downplay worries over Rio’s water quality days before the opening ceremony, health experts were warning athletes and tourists not to ingest the water.

Recent tests in a 16-month study commissioned by The Associated Press show the waters off Rio’s beaches were teeming with viruses and bacteria found in raw sewage.

However, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said last Monday that four tests a day are showing that the water in the areas where sporting events will be held is meeting World Health Organization standards.


The national dual-frame (land and cell) hybrid telephone and online survey of 1,000 people was conducted between July 28 and Aug. 1. The margin of error for a survey of 1,000 respondents is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.