Plenty of reasons to be both excited & concerned for fans and athletes headed to the Rio Olympics

The Rio Olympics are shaping up to be quite the emotional roller coaster.

Sports fans are getting ready to support their favorite athletes — and many we’ll be hearing about for the first time — as they chase Olympic glory for themselves and their country.

On the other hand, we’re just days away from the opening ceremony in Rio and there are plenty of reasons to fear for the fans and athletes heading into the Games. While hosting the Olympics is often a bit of a challenge (think Beijing's air pollution and Sochi's substandard sanitation and stray dogs), Rio seems like the perfect storm of calamities: the Zika outbreak, raw sewage in the water, and a recently ousted president — just to name a few.

Coaches are warning their sailors to keep their mouths closed in the water; swimmers in Rio’s Guanabara Bay have a 99% chance of contracting a disease if they swallow just three tablespoons of water. That's a scary proposition for our Olympic swimmers, rowers, and sailors.

But athletes and fans who won't be near the water still have Zika to worry about. There's also the recent news that Russia’s Ministry of Sport obstructed doping tests during the 2014 Sochi Games, raising major questions about competitive fairness.

So that's a lot for fans to chew on ahead of the Games. But despite these concerns, hundreds of thousands of fans will head to Rio this week to watch our athletes compete, and millions more will be cheering them on from home — and sending our best wishes for their safety. Go USA!

We'd love to hear your your thoughts on the Rio Olympics: What sports or athletes are you excited about? What issues are you concerned about? Head to our Facebook page to speak your mind.

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