Long jumper Greg Rutherford has had his sperm frozen ahead of the Rio Olympics because of fears about the Zika virus. The defending champion is deeply concerned by the impact of the virus, which can spread from an infected mother to her fetus during pregnancy, and has therefore decided to take the precautionary measure.
Greg's partner Susie Verrill confirmed the news, saying it was a joint decision made by the couple. "The Zika news has caused no end of concern," she revealed to Standard Issue Magazine. "We've made the decision to have Greg's sperm frozen. It's just another thing we don't want to chance."
Verrill, who has a son, Milo, with the defending Olympic champion, has confirmed she will not attend the Games in Rio. "We're not ones to worry unnecessarily, but after more than 100 medical experts stressed the Games should be moved to prevent the disease from spreading, this was a huge factor in us choosing to stay put," she said.
"We'd love to have more children and, with research in its infancy, I wouldn't want to put myself in a situation which could have been prevented."
Her remarks come shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would consider the health risks of staging the Games in Rio. The WHO has already rejected calls from more than 100 leading scientists to move or postpone the much-anticipated event. The virus has been declared a global public health emergency.
Already, American cyclist Tejay van Garderen and golf stars Vijay Singh and Marc Leishman have withdrawn from the Games over concerns about the mosquito-borne virus, which causes serious birth defects.