Soccer Fans Cheer For Zika At Olympics And Against Hope Solo

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Spectators at the Rio 2016 Olympics chanted “Zika! Zika! Zika!” at U.S. women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo during a soccer match against New Zealand Wednesday.

Fans were angry because Solo mocked the possibility of getting Zika in a tweet accompanied by a picture of her wearing a hat with mosquito netting and holding a large bottle of insect repellent.

The London 2012 Olympic Gold medalist said afterwards that, “I’m glad the fans had fun, and if they had fun at my expense, more power to them.”

In another Tweet, Solo shows a bed covered in multiple bottles of mosquito repellent, saying, “If anyone in the village forgets to pack repellent, come and see me…”

Fewer than 10,000 spectators showed up to the match in Belo Horizonte, even though the facility has a the capacity to host 60,000 people at a time. Tourism to the South American country ahead of the Olympic Games has been adversely affected by fears over Zika.

The jeering came just after Solo publicly expressed regret over her tweets, saying, “I feel a little bit bad because when you come here you learn for yourself.” U.S. women’s soccer coach Jill Evans stated she supports Solo and she wants their Brazilian hosts to, “realize that Hope has apologized.”

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