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Why Are The Rio Olympic Pools Turning Green? It's Not A Risk To Athletes, But... Still

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro kicked off last week, both diehard Team USA fans (hi, Leslie Jones!) and and casual spectators have experienced some pretty amazing feats right alongside our athletes — or from our couches, anyway. Like, oh, swimming powerhouse Michael Phelps winning his 21st Olympic gold medal, for one super casual example. Now, another mysterious aquatic phenomenon is upon us, and I know some of the world's very best water athletes aren't thrilled about why the Olympic pools in Rio are turning green.

On Tuesday, the water in the pools at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center, where the diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming action is going down, turned a bright, bright green — not at all the nice, healthy, heavily chlorinated blue that is normal and expected. After some dismayed speculation splashed its green, green waves over social media, FINA, the international body that governs swimming and diving offered competing explanations as to why, eventually issuing a statement that it had run out of chemicals used in the water treatment process, but insisting that everything was still A-OK.

The organization made it clear, according to CNN, that the Olympic organizers were reportedly 100 percent at fault for the snafu.

In response to the curiosity (and onslaught of media inquiries, probably) surrounding the strange color change, FINA offered the following explanation Wednesday afternoon, Vice Sports reported:

But before settling on this conclusion, though, the various entities brainstormed other possible culprits for the green hue. A representative from Rio 2016 local organizing committee blamed a sudden change in alkalinity, Reuters reported. Then, the organizing body blamed an algae bloom caused a lack of heat or wind, according to CNN.  The New York Times reported that Olympic officials who had conducted "extensive tests" were blaming the green water on a chemical imbalance that manifested because there were too many people in the water.

CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on August 10, 2016 at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro shows experts getting ready to take samples of the the diving pool water of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games prior to its analysis. Red-faced Rio Olympics organisers anxiously waited for the diving water to turn back from a nervy green to classic blue as a lack of chemicals was revealed as the cause of the colour changes. Heavy rain slowed the flow of new chemicals added to the water which was also green in the pool used for the synchronised swimming and water-polo. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

Now that they've (reportedly) determined what, exactly, the problem is, they can go about remedying it. Yay, sports!

Rio, of course, is contending with various challenges — rampant Zika virus, heavily polluted waterways on which athletes are competing, and scary gang violence — that caused international skepticism as to whether the country was equipped to host the massive event. The green water that athletes jokingly referred to as a "swamp" may not reach that magnitude (and it's supposed to be back to normal on Thursday), but it's still not a great sign for organizers working hard to ensure that these Games are a success in every sense.