Despite the opening ceremony being two days away, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are already entertaining fans with early head-to-head soccer matches.
The United States’ Women’s National Team beat New Zealand in their opening soccer match on Wednesday, winning 2-0 at the Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte.
Despite the win, the night wasn't a great one for American goalkeeper Hope Solo who was booed and heckled every time she touched the ball.
Every time Solo saw action on the field, the crowd loudly chanted "Zika!”
For those who may be confused as to why people present in the stadium appeared so disgruntled with Solo, here’s the background story: Before leaving for Brazil, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and a World Cup gold medalist posted a tweet that offended a lot of people, most of them, of course, Brazilians:
The Rio Olympics, as most people know by now, have been surrounded by a number of controversies, with the outbreak of Zika virus being among the most problematic of the lot because it's not contained, spreads very easily and causes birth defects in infants.
In April, Brazil was billed “Zika’s ground zero” after hitting 4,000 suspected Zika-related cases of birth defects. There’s been a lot of debate if the Summer Olympics should be relocated because of the health emergency. Several doctors have also warned the games, if held in Rio, could yield negative consequences across the world as Zika inevitably spreads.
Understandably, several athletes dropped out of the tournament while others voiced concern and adopted protective measures before leaving for Rio. One British Olympian even decided to freeze a sample of his sperm over Zika fears.
But Solo chose a rather odd way to express her concerns, as is clear from the tweet above. She also posted another photo that shows a huge collection of repellents:
Of course, that didn’t sit well with Brazilian fans who trolled her with shouts of "ZIKA!" whenever she picked up the ball at the opening match:
Olha aí a torcida mineira pegando no pé da Hope Solo. pic.twitter.com/0kJtGWhdPK— Uai Tevê (@uaiteve) August 3, 2016
“It’s the Brazilians, they love soccer, they love football, it’s part of the culture so I expect it, but they’re having fun. I mean, at least it’s loud in the stadium — I’d rather have that than hear a needle drop,” Solo told NBC Sports after the game.