Hope Solo

The Zika virus isn't going away, and it could cause a huge disruption of the Summer Olympics in Rio. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo isn't convinced that she'll actually make the trip.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, the soccer star said she won't risk her health to represent her country at the Games.

"If I had to make the choice today, I wouldn't go," she says, per SI.

Solo's comments represent fears that could be affecting many athletes slated to compete in this year's Summer Olympics. The World Health Organization has declared an international health emergency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel alerts to areas where Zika is spreading, which includes Brazil.

2016 Olympics: Athletes To Watch

 

Simone Biles: United States, Gymnastics

At just 18, Biles is already one of the most decorated female gymnasts in U.S. history. Most recently, she claimed the USA Gymnastics 2015 national champion title, beating her USA teammate MyKayla Skinner by 4.467 points -- the largest margin of victory in ...

 

Simone Biles: United States, Gymnastics

... American Cup history. "[She ] is a real good bet to win gold in the all-around and probably some individual events," said Dr. James Millhouse, Ph.D., an Atlanta-based clinical sport psychologist and author of The Parents Manual of Sport Psychology.

 

Aliya Mustafina: Russia, Gymnastics

In addition to also pointing out Biles as a must-watch gymnast, Shannon Miller -- who currently reigns as America's most decorated gymnast -- also recommended keeping an eye on Mustafina. "While there are so many incredible athletes competing, these two will not only ...

 

Aliya Mustafina: Russia, Gymnastics

... have the difficulty and scores to win, but both put on a great show," Miller said. She added, "Among the top five in the mix for the United States women's team are a couple of members of the 2012 (Gold Medal winning) Olympic team, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. Team USA is poised to bring home the gold if they can stay healthy and focused!"

 

Jaheel Hyde: Jamaica, Athletics

The Olympic Organizing Committee even points to Hyde as an up-and-coming, can't-miss track and field athlete. Most recently, he won gold in the 400m hurdles event at the 2014 World Junior Championships and he currently holds the world youth record for the 110m hurdles ...

 

Jaheel Hyde: Jamaica, Athletics

... event. If his performance keeps up this way, surely all eyes will be on Hyde when he takes to the track in Brazil.

 

Fernando Gaviria: Colombia, Track Cycling

This young rider first caught the world's attention when we he defeated former world champion Mark Cavendish in two sprint finishes at the 2015 Tour de San Luis in Argentina. Next, in February, he snagged the omnium title at the 2015 Track Cycling World ...

 

Fernando Gaviria: Colombia, Track Cycling

... Championships. Now, headed for Rio his sights are for sure set on snagging the gold in the multi-race category.

 

Bradley Wiggins: United Kingdom, Track Cycling

In 2012, Wiggins became the first British cyclist ever to win the Tour de France. Already a highly decorated athlete (he has four Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronze), there’s no doubt Wiggins has already left a historic mark on the sport of cycling. But as he returns to the track ...

 

Bradley Wiggins: United Kingdom, Track Cycling

... in Rio, he'll embark on one final chance to claim even more Olympic glory -- if he wins an eighth medal he'll claim the title of most decorated Olympian in British history.

 

Katie Ledecky: United States, Swimming

No one will be surprised to see Ledecky succeed in Rio (she won gold in the 800m freestyle against front-runner Rebecca Adlington in London in 2012). But even still, everyone is excited to see this young distance swimmer show off her swimming stamina and speed on the ...

 

Katie Ledecky: United States, Swimming

... world stage once again. According to the Olympic Organizing Committee, she could compete for as many as seven gold medals in Rio.

 

David Boudia: United States, Diving

When he won the gold in 2012, Boudia became the first U.S. diver to place first at the Olympics since 2000. Recently, he won silver at the 2015 diving World Championships, and with his sight set on snagging another gold medal in Rio, if he wins, he'll be the first American diver ...

 

David Boudia: United States, Diving

... to win gold in back-to-back Summer games since Greg Louganis in 1988.

 

Ki Bo Bae: Republic of Korea, Archery

Already a decorated Olympian (she has two gold medals from the 2012 Games in London) Bo Bae has her heart set on defending her current Olympic title and setting a few new records in Rio. "I compete at the Games for my own glory and my nation's honor," she said. "I want to ...

 

Ki Bo Bae: Republic of Korea, Archery

... make history in Korean archery by becoming the individual and team champion at consecutive Games."

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The risk is greatest for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant -- the illness has been connected to a birth defect known as microcephaly, which has affected newborns in Brazil and other Zika-affected countries.

Solo isn't sure the rewards are worth the risk.

"I would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child," Solo tells SI. "I don't know when that day will come for [my husband] Jerramy [Stevens] and me, but I personally reserve my right to have a healthy baby.

"No athlete competing in Rio should be faced with this dilemma. Female professional athletes already face many different considerations and have to make choices that male professional athletes don't."

There's plenty of time to monitor the situation and see whether Zika is contained, or whether the medical community is able to mount a better response to the disease. In the meantime, expect Olympians to be watching closely and weighing the pros and cons of competing.

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